Yankees bullpen, defense flop in ugly loss to Nationals

Jose Altuve and the Astros weren’t around to boo anymore, so the Yankees made sure there was plenty for fans to be upset about in the eighth inning Friday night in The Bronx.

Jose Altuve and the Astros weren’t around to boo anymore, so the Yankees made sure there was plenty for fans to be upset about in the eighth inning Friday night in The Bronx.

A tie game quickly turned into a rout, as the Yankees’ bullpen and defense failed them and the Nationals used a six-run eighth inning to take an 11-4 victory.

The mighty bullpen, which — for the most part — has lived up to its lofty expectations, faltered for a second straight game as the Yankees fell back to .500 (16-16).

After Chad Green and Justin Wilson helped cost the Yankees in Thursday’s loss to the Astros, Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa let Friday’s game get away from them in an ugly eighth inning for a second consecutive loss.

Yadiel Hernandez started the inning with a liner that just eluded a leaping Gleyber Torres, who was shifted to the right side of second base. Aaron Judge mishandled it in right field for an error, which allowed Hernandez to get to second.

After Hernandez was replaced by pinch runner Andrew Stevenson, Victor Robles followed with a sacrifice bunt. Robles reached on DJ LeMahieu’s throw, which was wide to first base. That put runners on the corners with no outs, and Trea Turner’s single up the middle gave the Nationals the lead.

Aaron Boone takes out Jonathan Loaisiga in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 11-4 loss to the Nationals.
Robert Sabo

Josh Harrison then provided the big blow with a three-run home run to left off Loaisiga to make it 7-3.

Juan Soto became the fifth straight batter to reach with a single before Loaisiga finally struck out Josh Bell.

Cessa entered and gave up a run-scoring single to Kyle Schwarber before Torres made the Yankees’ second error of the inning.

The collapse negated a relatively strong start from Jameson Taillon, who allowed three runs in 6 ¹/₃ innings in his longest outing since returning from a second Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees, who had their five-game winning streak snapped Thursday, took a quick lead courtesy of LeMahieu, who hit the team’s first leadoff homer of the season.

But Taillon allowed two homers in the top of the second. Bell hit the first one to open the inning, a long blast to dead center to tie the game.

Schwarber walked with one out and Yan Gomes followed with a line drive blast to left to put Washington ahead, 3-1.

Gary Sanchez got the Yankees back to within a run with a 420-foot homer to left with one out in the bottom of the inning. It was just Sanchez’s third home run of the year, and his first since he homered in each of the first two games of the season.

Both starters then settled down.

After the Gomes homer, Taillon retired the next 15 straight until a one-out infield hit by Starlin Castro in the seventh, which proved to be Taillon’s last batter. And Patrick Corbin set down 11 of 12 after Sanchez took him deep — until LeMahieu hit his second opposite-field homer of the night, leading off the bottom of the sixth to tie it.

Wandy Peralta took over for Taillon and struck out both batters he faced to strand Castro at first.

Corbin left after the sixth, having allowed just four hits, three of them homers. He was replaced by right-hander Kyle Finnegan.

For Loaisiga, it was the first bump in the road since the right-hander has emerged as a key member of the bullpen.

Prior to Friday, he hadn’t allowed an earned run in eight appearances, covering 8 ¹/₃ innings. He had given up just two earned runs in 18 ¹/₃ innings all season.

But the Nationals, who had lost three in a row to the Braves, got to Loaisiga for five runs — four earned — and he retired just one batter.

Cessa was no better, as Soto got to him for a homer in the ninth, Washington’s fourth of the night.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Dan Martin

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