The Yankees took down the Cubs on Sunday night 5-4 in 18 innings. The win completed a sweep for the Bronx Bombers and moved them to an MLB-best 20-9 record. They started 1-4, so they are scorching hot. The Sunday bout provided a number of quirks, so let's see if we can match the game itself and get to 18. Come with me.
- The Cubs allowed a first-inning run again. A series of hits got the Yankees there, but that's not really what is important. The Cubs have given up at least one run in the first inning 12 of their past 16 games and six of seven. Overall, Cubs pitchers are allowing opponents to hit .364/.421/.734 with 18 doubles, a triple, 11 home runs and 41 runs in 31 first innings, good for an 11.32 ERA.
Aaron Hicks never saw Javier Baez's home run:
- The Cubs' defense let them down in the seventh. First, Kris Bryant made an errant throw to allow Starlin Castro on base and then on Aaron Judge's triple, Jon Jay took a horrible route (watch here). I would put a lot of money on Albert Almora having that in his back pocket. Just ask Corey Seager (ahem).
- Both starting pitchers were outstanding. Jon Lester had the first-inning blip and his defense faltered in the seventh, but he gave up one earned run in seven innings with nine strikeouts. Likewise, Yankees wunderkind Luis Severino gave up just the Baez homer with nine strikeouts in seven innings. He was pumping 100 in the seventh inning, too.
- The forgotten home run: Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run shot to right field in the top of the eighth to make it 4-1 Yankees.
- Aroldis Chapman was terrible against his former teammates. He had no command and couldn't finish the ninth inning. The Cubs got three hits and drew two walks against him before he hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch to tie the game (video here). The outing moved Chapman's ERA from 0.79 to 3.00 and he threw a season-high 36 pitches.
- Rizzo leads the majors with eight hit-by-pitches.
- The Cubs didn't complete it, but the comeback-to-tie shouldn't have been all too surprising. The Cubs, Astros and Yankees are tied for first with five comebacks from at least three runs to win this season.
- No one put the ball in play in extra innings for a bit. Wade Davis struck out all three hitters he faced in the top of the 10th. Tyler Clippard followed suit in the bottom half. Carl Edwards Jr. did so in the top of the 11th as well. Adam Warren struck out Almora to lead off the bottom of the 11th. So when Baez grounded out, it ended a run of 10 consecutive strikeouts to begin extras.
- Kyle Schwarber made a hell of a catch flying into the stands.
The Cubs used Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks as pinch hitters, leading to this fun nugget:
- Yankees pitchers struck out 26 hitters, which ties the MLB single-game record (1971 A's, 2004 Angels), reports ESPN Stats and Info.
In fact, the two teams combined to make history:
- The 18 innings was the most ever played in an interleague game.
- There were 583 pitches thrown.
- There were 42 players used.
- This was the Yankees' first win of 18 innings or longer since 1988 (ESPN Stats and Info).
- Per ESPN, this was the longest Sunday night game, by innings, since the network started the series in 1990.
The Cubs joined a short list of teams since 1913 to use 3+ pitchers as pinch hitters in the same game. Record is 4! pic.twitter.com/cSQeHQeBB6— High Heat Stats 📎 (@HighHeatStats) May 8, 2017
.@Yankees, @Cubs combined for 48 Ks – a new @MLB record. The previous mark for an extra-inning affair was 43 (@Athletics-@Angels, 7/9/1971). pic.twitter.com/wkJ3GbgVi9— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) May 8, 2017
The Yankees head to Cincinnati while the Cubs fly to Colorado. No rest for the weary, as both teams are in action Monday night.