The refreshing start to the 2017 campaign for the New York Yankees has officially hit the “wow” button with the Bronx Bombers stealing one from the world champion Chicago Cubs last night at Wrigley Field. The final was 3-2, with every run scored from both teams coming via the home run ball.
The pregame festivities had Aroldis Chapman receiving his World Series ring as the Chicago faithful showed the proper respect and admiration that comes with lifting a 100 plus year old championship drought. But the Chicago Cubs (16-13) got right down to business in the bottom of the first inning as their leading hitter, Chris Bryant, rocketed a ball to deep right field and the Cubs drew first blood going ahead 1-0 early.
Then defense prevailed as Cubs right fielder Jason Hayward caught a line drive off of Chase Henley’s bat and promptly gunned out the potential game tying run to end a bases-loaded one out Yankee rally in the top of the fifth.
Kyle Schwarber continued the offensive pop in the home half of the sixth as he crushed a solo-shot to right field. Cubs took a 2-0 lead and pitching held up for both team until the top of the ninth when Cubs reliever Hector Mongone worked Brett Gardner to a 2-2 count with Yankees on first and second base.
This is the point where the Yankees new identity of scrappiness emerged yet again. If it is not Starlin Castro (.367 BA & .946 OPS), it has been Didi Gregorious (.321 BA & .738 OPS), and no doubt young Aaron Judge (.337 BA & 1.25) has done his share.
But this win was carved out as Brett Gardener dug out a low fast ball on a 2-2 count with two outs and launched a 3-run Home Run to spark yet another hard-fought victory for the Yankees. Chapman struck out Baez to notch his seventh win and end the game. The Yankees improved to 18-9 and remain on top of the American East. Jonathan Holder got his first win of the season for the Yankees.