The Yankees overcame countless injuries to go 103-59 last season in winning the AL East. They swept the Twins in the ALDS before losing to the Astros in six games in the ALCS.
Here are the top-10 moments (in chronological order) from the 2019 season that helped get them there (the accompanying video features all 10 moments):
April 17: Brett Gardner’s 100th career homer is a grand slam against Red Sox
Brett Gardner reached a milestone in grand fashion, as his 100th career homer was a seventh-inning grand slam off Boston’s Ryan Brasier that sparked a 5-3 win over Boston to complete a series sweep.
“Yeah, it was a big feeling,” Gardner said afterward.
April 30: CC Sabathia’s 3,000th strikeout
Sabathia struck out ex-teammate John Ryan Murphy in the second inning at Chase Field, becoming the 17th pitcher — and third lefty— in baseball history to strike out 3,000 batters. It was another milestone in what turned out to be Sabathia’s final season on his way to Cooperstown.
June 29-30: Yankees sweep series against Red Sox in London
The Yankees topped the Red Sox in a pair of slugfests in the first regular-season MLB games in Europe, as both lineups made a mockery of London Stadium. After blowing a 6-0 first-inning lead in the first game, the Yankees still won, 17-13, and followed it up with a 12-8 victory in the second game.
“Right now, they are a lot better than us,” said then-Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
July 24: Aaron Hicks game-saving catch at Minnesota
Hicks followed up his two-run homer in the ninth with a tremendous diving catch in the bottom of the 10th to finish off a wild 14-12 win over the Twins that took 10 innings and 5 hours and 3 minutes to complete. The catch came with the bases loaded, as Max Kepler sent a shot toward the warning track in left-center. Hicks laid out and held onto the ball after face-planting on the track, preventing at least two runs from scoring.
“That was a do-or-die play that needed to be made to end the game,” Hicks said.
Aug. 12: Gleyber Torres completes dominant season against Orioles
Torres tormented the Orioles all season long, hitting his first home run of the year in Baltimore on April 4 against Alex Cobb and the final three during a doubleheader on Aug. 12, finishing the season with 13 home runs against the Orioles. Torres became the second Yankee since 1961 to hit at least that many homers against one team, joining Roger Maris (13 versus the White Sox) in 1961. Only Lou Gehrig can top that number in MLB history, with 14 versus Cleveland in 1936. Torres’ five multi-homer games against Baltimore set a new MLB record versus one opponent in a season.
Aug. 31: DJ LeMahieu’s 11th-inning walkoff against Oakland
LeMahieu crushed the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th from Lou Trivino into the seats for the game-winner. LeMahieu had struck out three times in a game for just the second time of the season before he hit the Yankees’ fourth solo shot of the afternoon.
Sept. 1: Gardner and Mike Ford go back-to-back to win it
For the second straight day, the Yankees toppled the A’s with a walk-off homer, after LeMahieu did it in the 11th a day prior.
After the Yankees scored three runs in the eighth to cut Oakland’s lead to a run, Brett Gardner tied it with a leadoff homer off Liam Hendriks in the ninth. Mike Ford followed with a pinch-hit homer to win it.
Sept. 19: Yankees clinch AL East
The Yankees ended a six-season division-title drought when they clinched the AL East with a 9-1 win against the Angels in The Bronx.
“This is the first step and hopefully we have a good run in us,’’ manager Aaron Boone said after the win, which was marred by the news after the game that Domingo German had been placed on administrative leave by MLB due to an alleged domestic violence situation he was involved in earlier in the week. The ensuing investigation led to an 81-game suspension.
Oct. 5: Didi Gregorius’ grand slam in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins
When the shortstop sent a Tyler Duffey fastball into the second deck at Yankee Stadium, it not only provided the big blow in a seven-run third inning, it also was a huge hit for a player that had struggled since returning in the middle of the season from Tommy John surgery. Perhaps that’s why Gregorius admired the shot, while holding onto the bat with his left hand, swung his left arm forward — and instead of flipping it, grabbed it with his right hand and simply tossed it toward the Yankees’ dugout.
Oct. 18: Hicks’ three-run homer in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros
Hicks came into the game just 2-for-23 with 10 strikeouts against Justin Verlander in his career. And Hicks entered the ALCS having not played since Aug. 3, when he suffered a strained flexor tendon near his right elbow that would lead to Tommy John surgery. Despite all that, Hicks delivered a three-run shot in the bottom of the first, helping the Yankees stave off elimination and force the series back to Houston.
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