One of two things happened Monday night:
- The Cleveland Guardians were held to one hit over eight shutout innings before staging a three-run rally in the ninth inning to beat the New York Yankees, 3-2
- I suffered a psychotic break after watching eight innings of mind-numbingly awful plate appearances and the ninth inning rally was a fever dream produced by my broken brain
I’m not sure I’ll ever know what really happened.
What I can say for sure is that Cal Quantrill pitched well. The Guardians’ starting pitcher stumbled in the third inning, giving up a solo homer to Jose Trevino and a two-out RBI single to D.J. LeMahieu. But he recovered to keep Cleveland in the game. Quantrill limited the Yankees to six hits, one walk, and two earned runs over 7.1 innings of work. He spent much of the game running through raindrops, as he only induced one swing-and-miss all night.
His counterpart, Domingo German, was on a short leash. Yankees manager Aaron Boone gave him the hook after only his third baserunner allowed. That third baserunner came in the ninth inning, signaling the end of a career-long outing for German. In four of the 8.1 innings he pitched, German needed less than 10 pitches to retire the side. Against him, the Guardians only managed one batted ball with an exit velocity over 100 mph and that was a groundout by Amed Rosario.
The first eight innings seemed to set a new low in offensive futility for Cleveland.
But after Boone pulled German, who was only at 88 pitches, things started to take a turn. Amed Rosario reached on an error by closer Clay Holmes, who mishandled a grounder. With runners on first and second, José Ramírez lined a single to left field to load the bases. Josh Naylor then squeezed a two-run single through the right side of the infield to tie the game.
Holmes hit the showers and in came left-hander Wandy Peralta, who proceeded to walk Josh Bell to load the bases again. After Andrés Giménez struck out on three pitches, Mike Zunino came to the plate having struck out in his three previous plate appearances. But the Guardians backstop worked an eight-pitch walk to score the go-ahead run.
Emmanuel Clase pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the stunning win.
If you didn’t watch the game, I can’t even describe what it was like to watch a team look utterly lost at the plate for eight innings, only to find the spark of life in the ninth.
A win is a win, I guess. Especially against the Yankees.