Less than 24 hours after a marathon 18-inning series-finale against the Cubs, the Yanks rolled into Cincinnati and put a ten spot up on the division-leading Reds.
New York showed no signs of fatigue Monday night when they beat the Reds 10-4 behind more home runs and another good outing from Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees have now won six in a row and have the best record in baseball at 21-9.
Gary Sanchez got the offense going in the first when he grounded a two-run single through the left side of the infield to score Gardner and Hicks and put the Yankees up 2-0. Gregorius followed suit with an RBI single of his own and put the Yanks up 3-0 before Tanaka even stepped on the field.
“It’s a tough performance by our guys. Guys are really fatigued,” Joe Girardi said. “To be able to come out and get three early, let Tanaka go to work, get another in the next inning and be able to put ten on the board, it shows you something about these guys.”
With a depleted bullpen, Tanaka gave New York the shot in the arm it needed. He earned his fifth consecutive victory by going seven innings and allowing just three earned runs, while striking out six. Joey Votto got to Tanaka in the seventh, taking him deep for a two-run homer to cut the Yankee lead to 7-4, but Cincinnati never got closer.
New York plated two more in the seventh before Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday both homered in the eighth inning to extend the lead. Gardner now has six home runs in his last nine games, including two multi-homer games.
“He’s not missing pitches right now,” Girardi said of the red-hot Gardner. “He’s had a really good month of May and had some big hits for us.”
What has been most impressive for the young Yankees during this six game stretch has been the production throughout the entire lineup. After Sunday night’s six-hour game, Girardi opted to leave Aaron Judge and Starlin Castro out of the starting lineup, and Aaron Hicks and Ronald Torreyes did not miss a beat as their replacements. Torreyes continues to be a great utility guy, playing all over the infield and is still hitting .316. Last night he finished 2-for-5 with an RBI. Aaron Hicks on the other hand, looks like the best fourth outfielder in baseball as he too went 2-for-5, scoring twice and driving in a run of his own. He’s hitting .342 with six long balls and 16 runs driven in.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Girardi said in regards to having all his outfielders clicking offensively. “They’re all speed guys for the most part and their legs can use a day.”
The Yankees are also happy to see Gary Sanchez coming around. Last night he went 3-f0r-3 with a pair of RBIs, his best game since coming back from missing nearly a month. Sanchez has his average up to .281, compiling hits in his last three contests.
With no DH in the national league park, Girardi has done his best to Keep Matt Holliday in the lineup. He played first base Monday night, with Chris Carter struggling at the plate and Holliday looks like a natural. He made a couple nice scoops and looks like he knows how to hold runners on effectively.
As long as Hicks and Holliday continue to hit, Girardi will find somewhere for them in the lineup.
Holliday and Headley are likely the next pair of Yanks to get the night off on Tuesday. Chris Carter is expected back at first base and Headley can use a day after getting hit by a pitch in the seventh inning saying, “He got me pretty good, but I don’t think it’s going to be something extended.”
New York will send out C.C. Sabathia (2-1 5.45) Tuesday night as they go for seven in a row against Tim Adleman (1-1 4.22) and the Reds.