NEW YORK -- Friday night, two of the American League's best teams played one of the most exciting games of the young season at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees walked off the Chicago White Sox on a Gleyber Torres single in a game that was heavy on strikeouts and heavy on late-inning excitement. The Yankees won the game 2-1 (box score).
"There's a little extra buzz after that one. That's an exciting one," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said about the win.
Here are four things to know about Friday's riveting contest in the Bronx.
The two starters made history
Left-handers Jordan Montgomery and Carlos Rodón began the season near the back of their respective rotations, but they pitched like aces on Friday. Both pitchers set a career high in strikeouts -- Montgomery fanned 11 in seven scoreless innings while Rodón struck out 13 in six innings. They combined to give up six hits and did not walk a batter.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, this is the first game in baseball history in which the two starting pitchers each struck out at least 10 batters without issuing a walk or allowing a run.
Rodón generated 23 swings and misses on 95 pitches, including an incredible 11 misses on 20 swings against his slider. His fastball sat in the 95-97 mph range all night and he threw the fastest pitch of his career (98.9 mph). Rodón joins Gerrit Cole, Shane Bieber, and Jacob deGrom has the only pitchers with multiple 12-plus strikeout games in 2021.
As for Montgomery, he shut down the offense with the highest batting average (.297), on-base percentage (.376), and slugging percentage (.486) against lefties this season. It was an incredible pitchers' duel.
Madrigal tied it with an unbelievable swing
The Yankees finally broke through and opened the scoring against Chicago's bullpen when Torres lifted a solo home run into the Yankee Stadium short right field porch against Michael Kopech in the bottom of the seventh. A half-inning later, tied the game with the sort of swing only he can make work.
Here is Madrigal's game-tying hit. Not many hitters can go down and dig a pitch like this out of the dirt.
The "correct" thing there is taking that pitch for a ball and continuing the at-bat. Most hitters would miss if they swung at that pitch, or maybe foul it off. Madrigal instead drove in a run with a little half-swing and a blooper that found grass. You can't teach hitting like that.
Madrigal's RBI single ended New York's scoreless streak at 29 innings, dating back to Corey Kluber's no-hitter Wednesday.
The Yankees turned a triple play
It has been a good week for historical accomplishments for the Yankees. First Kluber threw the franchise's 12th no-hitter on Wednesday, then the Yankees turned the 25th double play in their history on Friday, and it was an important one.
With the score tied 1-1, Yermín Mercedes opened the top of the ninth with a walk against Aroldis Chapman. Leury García then attempted to bunt pinch-runner Billy Hamilton over to second, but Chapman bobbled the ball, and everyone was safe. Chicago had runners on first and second with no outs when rookie Andrew Vaughn smashed into the 5-4-3 triple killing.
"So exciting. That's one of those plays you don't see everyday," Chapman said after the game. "To add to that, where I was -- I had runners on first and second with no outs -- the play develops and it's amazing. Exciting."
The Yankees last turned a triple play in 2014 against the Rays. The White Sox had not hit into a triple play since 2011, when they did it against Cleveland. Chicago had a 69.8 percent chance to win the game prior to the triple play. After the triple play, those odds dropped all the way down to 36.2 percent. Just a massive, massive swing in win probability.
"That's an energy-giver right there," Boone said about the triple play.
Torres walked it off
Rather than give the ball to ace closer Liam Hendriks in the ninth inning of a tie game on the road, White Sox manager stuck with Evan Marshall, who escaped a mess in the eighth inning. It did not take the Yankees long to capitalize on La Russa's decision.
Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela opened the ninth inning with singles back up the middle, then Torres won the game with a ground ball single through the left side. Judge slid in safely around Vaughn's throw from left field. To the action footage:
The Yankees have now won three straight games despite scoring exactly two runs in all three games. It is the first time the Yankees have won three straight games while scoring no more than two runs in each game since July 2009, and only the 12th such streak in franchise history.
According to YES Network researcher James Smyth, the Yankees are only the fourth team in history to record a triple play and a walk-off hit in the same inning, joining the 1920 Giants, 1942 Cubs, and 2012 Dodgers.
"Amazing. The second I saw the ground ball to Gio, I knew that something special was coming. That triple play was amazing," Torres said. "I was super high after that. That type of play, we come into the dugout and I know this inning (we're going to win it). Amazing game tonight."