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Aaron Judge’s 60th HR, Giancarlo Stanton’s Slam Rally Yankees Over Pirates 9-8

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The Pittsburgh Pirates entered the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the New York Yankees. It seemed the last-place team in the National League Central had the game in the bag against the American League East leaders.

Wil Crowe was tasked with pitching the ninth inning and didn’t record an out. Giancarlo Stanton capped the big inning with a walk-off grand slam to sink the Pirates as the Yankees rallied for a 9-8 win in the opener of a two-game series.

Aaron Judge began the final inning with his 60th home run of the season for the Yankees (89-58) to cut the lead to 8-5. Judge is now just one home run shy of tying Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 set in 1961.

Then, all hell broke loose.

Anthony Rizzo doubled, Gleyber Torres walked and Josh Donaldson looped a single into shallow right-center to load the bases with nobody out, loading the bases and setting the stage for Stanton’s walk-off slam.

The loss marked the fifth straight for the Pirates (55-93).

In his second start, rookie Luis Ortiz again looked impressive for the Pirates. He hit triple-digits on the radar gun on multiple occasions and was routinely sitting 98-99 mph with his fastball. Ortiz again showed a good feel for his slider, too.

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The 23-year-old completed five innings, allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, one walk and five strikeouts and held the Yankees scoreless until the fifth.

The bottom of the fifth began with Oswaldo Cabrera reaching on a three-base error. Center fielder Bryan Reynolds and right fielder Diego Castillo both raced towards a ball in the gap and got too close for comfort, the ball bouncing off of Reynolds’ glove.

On the next pitch, Harrison Bader, who was making his Yankees’ debut after returning from the injured list, singled to left to plate Cabrera. New York added another in the inning when Jose Trevino blooped a single into center, plating Bader.

Ke’Bryan Hayes prevented further damage with a slick diving play at the hot corner to end the inning.

Bader’s big night continued in the bottom of the sixth inning when the former St. Louis Cardinal drove in two more with a base hit the other way, giving him two hits and three RBIs on the night. The Yankees took a 4-3 lead on the play.

After hitting singles for his first two knocks of the night, Reynolds crushed a solo shot to the second-deck in right to tie the game in the seventh inning. His 24th homer of the season ties his career-high from last season.

He followed the next inning with an opposite-field RBI single to put the Bucs ahead 5-4. It marked his first four-hit game of the season.

After Reynolds’ single, Rodolfo Castro hit a three-run homer to right off of Clay Holmes to extend the lead to 8-4. The long ball was the 11th of the year for Castro.

In the fourth, the Pirates loaded the bases against Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes. Greg Allen hit a drive to deep left field that was just short of a grand slam, instead settling for a sacrifice fly which put the Bucs ahead 1-0.

Jason Delay put the Bucs back ahead 3-2 in the sixth with a two-run double to left-center field.

Kevin Newman collected a pair of singles in the loss.

The Pirates and Yankees wrap up their two-game set at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Pirates rookie Roansy Contreras (5-4, 3.24 ERA), who begin his professional career with the Yankees, will face right-hander Luis Severino (5-3, 3.45 ERA).

Takeaways

  • What A Start: Before the Yankees scored off of him in the fifth inning, Ortiz began his career with 9.2 scoreless innings. That was the fourth-longest streak for a Pirates’ starting pitcher since 2000, trailing Contreras (12.0 innings last year), Josh Fogg (12 innings in 2002), and Paul Maholm (11 innings in 2005).
  • Encouraging AB’s For Cruz: Entering play, Cortes had limited left-handed batters to just .125/.182/.181 this season. Also entering play, Oneil Cruz has struggled much more against southpaws this year. With that being said, Cruz put together two really strong at-bats against the Yankees’ left-hander, drawing a walk in each appearance. In total, Cruz worked the count full both times and saw 14 pitches. Cruz drew his third walk of the game on four pitches in the sixth.
  • Crowe Can’t Fly In Late Innings: After allowing five runs without recording an out in the final inning on Tuesday, Crowe now has a 6.39 ERA in the eighth and ninth innings combined this season. That’s compared to a 1.51 ERA in the first seven innings.
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