Gardner's blast in ninth propels Yankees past Cubs
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[May 06, 2017]
CHICAGO -- The New York Yankees
were one strike away from defeat on Friday when Brett Gardner found
a pitch he liked.
The Yankees left fielder took a 2-2 offering from Chicago Cubs
reliever Hector Rondon with two outs and drove it 400 feet through
tricky crosswinds toward the right-field bleachers.
A three-run home run made the difference in a 3-2 New York victory
in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Wrigley Field.
"I was fired up," Gardner said. "I'm usually even-keeled, but I was
excited. I feel like we were kind of slow all game and they were
obviously winning 2-0 and it comes to the last strike in the ninth
"It feels good to come through in a situation like that."
Gardner's fifth homer scored Chase Headley and pinch hitter Jacoby
Ellsbury and erased a Cubs lead that had lasted since the first
Rondon (0-1) entered the ninth in position for his first save of
2017. Instead, he sustained his first loss.
Rondon was the only reliever realistically available with closer
Wade Davis sidelined after three consecutive appearances.
"We were short in the bullpen this afternoon and that was his game,"
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "From the side it looked like he had
really good stuff. It was an unfortunate choice of where he threw it
on that pitch. That was probably the only pitch that Gardner could
hit out and we gave it to him."
Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder (1-0) earned the win after working
a scoreless eighth. Closer Aroldis Chapman, the former Cubs
reliever, faced four batters in a scoreless ninth for his seventh
The Cubs (16-13) never trailed until Gardner's late shot as Kris
Bryant and Kyle Schwarber each slugged a solo home run while starter
Kyle Hendricks worked 5 1/3 shutout innings.
Neither Hendricks or Yankees starter Michael Pineda recorded a
Bryant collected his sixth homer of the season in the bottom of the
The Cubs prevented a Yankees' tying run in the second when Headley
hit into a fielder's choice to Ben Zobrist, who fired to catcher
Willson Contreras to tag Aaron Judge trying to score from third.
The Yankees threatened in the fifth when Chris Carter walked and
reached second on Pineda's sacrifice grounder. Hendricks then walked
Gardner with two outs but escaped as Cubs first baseman Anthony
Rizzo beat Aaron Hicks to the bag on a grounder for the final out.
Hendricks left with one out after Starlin Castro beat out an infield
hit and Judge singled to left. Left-handed reliever Brian Duensing
entered and gave up a base hit to Didi Gregorius to load the bases.
Headley then sent a drive to right that was caught by Jason Heyward
and quickly fired back with a pinpoint throw to Contreras to tag
Castro just before he reached home.
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Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) tags out New York Yankees second
baseman Starlin Castro (14) during the sixth inning at Wrigley
Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Contreras hit the dirt after taking a shoulder from Castro in a
collision but stayed in the game.
Headley said he didn't care for playing conditions that included
cool temperatures and winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour from the
"It was just a mess, it's really not baseball to be perfectly
honest," Headley said. "The game's not anything close to what it's
supposed to be played like. You have to play it, but I'm glad we
don't play in conditions very often because it just changes
Schwarber gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with his fifth homer of the
season to open the sixth.
Hendricks allowed six hits, walked two and struck out five and
successfully worked out of several tricky situations.
"You've got to take it pitch by pitch," he said. "I wasn't getting
some calls early in the game, which got me into some bad counts that
I had to work out of. But I felt like I was still staying where I
needed to stay."
Pineda gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking
NOTES: Yankees C Gary Sanchez rejoined his team on Friday after a
three-game rehab stint (strained right biceps) in Triple-A Wilkes
Barre. He was promptly inserted into the starting lineup and went
0-for-4. ... New York is 12-3 at home and now 6-6 on the road. ...
Former Cubs and current Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman received
his 2016 World Series ring in a pre-game ceremony as Chicago manager
Joe Maddon made the presentation. He also received greetings from a
receiving line of ex-Cubs teammates. ... Yankees 2B Starlin Castro
also received a warm welcome from Chicago fans in his first at-bat
against his former team. Castro saluted his former teammates in turn
as he reached the batter's box. ... New York sends LHP Jordan
Montgomery (1-1, 4.15 ERA) against Chicago LHP Brett Anderson (2-1,
6.23 ERA) in Saturday night's middle game of the series. ... The
Cubs named INF Jaime Candelario and RHP Dylan Cease as minor league
player and pitcher of the month on Friday. Candelario hit .306 at
Triple-A Iowa while Cease posted a 1.90 ERA in five starts at
Single-A South Bend.
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