It wasn’t pretty, but the Yankees will take it. Josh Donaldson’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Yankees a 5-4 walkoff win at the Stadium Sunday.
The Yankees (39-15) have won six straight and swept the last two series.
Anthony Rizzo’s line drive in the extra frame got past a diving Javier Baez, but was stopped by Jonathan Schoop to hold ghost runner — Aaron Judge — at third base, setting up Donaldson’s heroics.
The Bombers tied it for a second time in the eighth inning by forcing the Tigers defense to make mistakes. Rizzo was hit by a pitch and stole second. Second baseman Schoop missed the throw from catcher Eric Haase to allow Rizzo to advance to third. He scored when third baseman Harold Castro, charging a ball about 20 feet from home plate, sailed his throw high over Haase’s glove.
Jordan Montgomery was fine. He allowed two runs on five hits and one walk in 6.1 innings pitched. He struck out five. It ended a streak of five straight games where the Yankees’ starters tossed at least seven innings allowing one earned run or less. He extended the streak of going at least six innings to 10 straight games.
The Yankees had taken a lead in the seventh when DJ LeMahieu worked a bases-loaded walk.
After the Yankees had seemingly been shut down in the bottom of the fifth, they made the most of their second chance. They challenged the call on the field that Isiah Kiner-Falefa had been caught stealing second base, ending the inning. The video replay showed he was safe, giving Joey Gallo an at-bat with the Yankees shortstop on second base. Gallo crushed a 3-1 sinker for his first homer in 45 at-bats. The 383-foot home run was his sixth of the season and only his second extra-base hit since May 15.
Gallo has struggled since the Yankees acquired him last July. The lefty-hitting slugger was coveted mostly among the analytics crowd because of his power and ability to get on base. He has not done much of either in his tenure in pinstripes. In 103 games with the Yankees, Gallo has a .292 on-base percentage, well below the .336 he had in Texas. He has a .336 OPS and an 83 OPS+, not comparable to the .833 and .116 he had with the Rangers.
So far this season, the Yankees have dropped him into the No. 9 spot in the lineup, where he had not hit since 2017, and moved him back over to right field, a position he played extensively with the Rangers.
This season, in 45 games, Gallo has a 38.8% strikeout rate with is in the bottom one percentile in the majors this season. He is in the bottom 2 percentile in Whiff percentage. Gallo is hitting .176/.277.324 with .601 OPS
Aaron Boone said that the Yankees are just trying to support Gallo, who heard boos again in the seventh inning when he struck out with the bases loaded and the game tied.
“He wears it, he wants it really bad, so kind of trying to support him through this,” the Yankees manager said. “I mean, he’s a hard worker, but he also understands the importance of trying to have quality work and not just constantly overdoing this and that. So that part of it I feel really good about I think it’s just supporting him through the through the tough times that he wears it, he wants to do well, he wants to do what he knows he’s capable of and so making sure that we’re helping support them and keep them in the best mental frame of mind as possible, I think is our biggest challenge right now.”