The New York Yankees seemingly are recovered from their August swoon but are still capable of enduring frustrating losses.
The Milwaukee Brewers created enough frustration by not only keeping Aaron Judge at 57 homers but also by pulling off their biggest comeback of the season.
After the teams opened the series with a marathon affair, the Brewers try to keep pace in the NL wild-card race while the Yankees attempt to shake off a pesky loss when the teams reconvene in Milwaukee on Saturday night.
The Yankees (87-57) are 8-3 in their past 11 games after losing 20 of 30 games from Aug. 1-Sept. 3. They scored 32 runs in a four-game winning streak that was highlighted by Judge’s two homers in Boston on Tuesday. But they struggled after jumping out to an early five-run lead and wound up with a 7-6 loss on Friday.
Judge extended his on-base streak to 16 games by going 2-for-4 with an intentional walk and is batting .464 (26-for-56) with eight homers and 14 RBIs in that span to raise his average from .294 to .311. Josh Donaldson drove in three runs, including a tying solo homer off Taylor Rogers, but the Yankees went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and struck out 11 times.
“We had good opportunities with runners in scoring position a lot tonight to really bust the game open and we weren’t able to come through after the first couple of innings and we gotta get better,” New York shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa said. “We gotta come through in those situations when it matters.”
Milwaukee (77-67) is 20-20 since it last held possession of first place on Aug. 3. The Brewers are 7.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
The Brewers are 6-2 in their past eight games after Wily Adames hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs. Rookie Garrett Mitchell hit a bases-loaded two-out single in the ninth to win it.
Mitchell’s game-winner allowed the Brewers to remain 1.5 games behind the San Diego Padres for the NL’s final wild-card.
“To come back from that, any time of the year it takes a big effort from a lot of people doing a great job the rest of the game and that’s what we got,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “We got a whole bunch of people doing really good stuff and it led to a really good win.”
The Brewers are hoping to get some distance from right-hander Brandon Woodruff (10-4, 3.39 ERA) in his first career appearance against New York.
Woodruff missed a month with a sprained right ankle and Raynaud’s syndrome affecting his pitching fingers but since returning June 28, he is 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 14 starts.
Woodruff has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 starts since returning, including Sunday when he allowed two runs in six innings of a 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
New York right-hander Jameson Taillon (13-4, 3.94) is coming off his second-longest start of the season when he allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings during a 10-3 rout of the visiting Tampa Bay Rays last Saturday.
Taillon is 3-4 with a 3.21 ERA in 10 career starts against the Brewers. He is facing them for the first time since allowing one run in six innings on Aug. 25, 2018 in Milwaukee.
–Field Level Media