SEATTLE — Jameson Taillon gave the Yankees a much needed breather and himself a boost of confidence. The right-hander gave the Bombers seven solid innings as they beat the Mariners 9-4 at T-Mobile Park Monday night, their first win since the trade deadline.
The win snapped a season-high five-game losing streak for the Yankees (71-39) and rebuilt a little lead in the race for the best record in the American League (one game) over the Astros. They were also able to regain their double-digit lead in the American League East (10.5) over the Blue Jays.
Josh Donaldson singled in the first to drive in two runs, he homered in the third and doubled to lead off the fifth inning and again in the ninth for his fourth hit of the night. Andrew Benintendi had a pair of run-scoring doubles and three RBI. Gleyber Torres singled and doubled. Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 44th home run, a 423-foot shot to dead center in the ninth. The Yankees’ slugger is on pace to hit 65 homers this season, which would smash the American League record set by Roger Maris in 1961.
It wasn’t all good news for the Yankees Monday, however, Matt Carpenter left the game with a fractured left foot, the team announced.
Taillon allowed three earned runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out six. Taillon got 11 swings and misses, four on his curveball and three each on his fastball and cutter.
It was an encouraging start for Taillon, who admitted he had been “chasing it,” the last month or so, but it was also encouraging for the Yankees. Their pitcher had been grinding over the last month.
With a team ERA of 3.33 going into Monday night’s game, the Bombers are still in the top three of pitching corps in the majors. Over the last month, however, the Yankees pitching has been hit. They have had injuries with Luis Severino suffering a strained lat muscle, though he is expected to return next month, and Michael King with an elbow fracture that will shut him down for the rest of the year.
Over the Yankees previous 25 games, their pitching has been the fifth worst in the majors with a 4.63 ERA, allowing 33 home runs (fourth most in the big leagues) over the last 30 days. New acquisition Frankie Montas, who was the rotation upgrade of Montgomery at the trade deadline, did not help the cause in his debut on Sunday giving up a season-high six earned runs in three innings of work.
Taillon had contributed to that slide. Since the calendar turned to July, Taillon had allowed 19 earned runs over his last 29.1 innings pitched (5.76 ERA) going into Monday night’s start
Taillon, handed a two-run lead in the first, gave back one a two-out homer to Mitch Haniger. After the Bombers scored two more in the third, he gave back another after a bases-loaded, 11-pitch battle with J.P. Crawford Taillon walked him to bring in the run. He got out of the inning by coaxing a ground out to first base without giving up more. He gave up a solo shot to Cal Raleigh in the seventh.
Getting back on track for Taillon means getting his fastball command back under control and believing he can beat hitters with it.
“I think the fastball the other day was good, but when he’s going up and in, it’s got to be in the strike zone, especially against Seattle. It’s just they don’t swing a lot,” Yankees pitching coch Matt Blake said. So don’t don’t put yourself in bad counts, nibbling with a fastball.”
Taillon, a free agent after this season, said losing Montgomery was a blow to the clubhouse and the rotation. The lefthander certainly delivered one on Saturday when he shut his former teammate out in his first start for the Cardinals.
Still, Taillon, who admitted he had been “chasing it,” after his last start believes this rotation with the addition of Montas and when Severino gets healthy can be a weapon for the Bombers down the stretch.
“I think it can continue to be a point of strength,” Taillon said. “We’ve had some inconsistency here, but Gerrit (Cole) and Montas coming in, (Nestor) Cortes doing what he’s done all year and (Luis) Severino coming back at some point, there’s a lot to like.”