LOS ANGELES — Anthony Volpe’s two-run homer in the ninth put a dagger in the Dodgers, but the Yankees also needed some small ball to win Sunday’s game, 4-1.
The game’s first run would not have been possible without a well-placed bunt by Isiah Kiner-Falefa and an inexplicable, off-balance throw by Brusdar Graterol, who threw to first base uncovered. The miscue put Yankees runners on second and third with one out in the seventh, and Jake Bauers went on to score on a broken-bat groundout by Kyle Higashioka.
JD Martinez answered with a solo home run off Domingo German in the bottom of the seventh, but the Yankees responded in the eighth with a walk from Anthony Rizzo and a double from Giancarlo Stanton. Recently demoted and promoted Oswaldo Cabrera then brought the game-winning home run with a soft ball to first base on the mound.
“Good job by the base runners and good job not getting hit too hard by Oswaldo and Higgy,” Aaron Boone joked after the game.
Volpe then gave the Yankees some air, crushing his ninth homer of the season in the final inning of the game.
Volpe had hit just .164/.203/.353 over his last 123 plate appearances entering Sunday, but had two hits in the game.
“He does a lot,” Volpe said when asked if his multi-hit game has helped his confidence. “But at the end of the day, this is a very, very good team that we’re up against. So to take the series the way we did and just play the way we did, that’s huge.”
German, meanwhile, went 6.2 innings, four hits, one earned run, one walk and six strikeouts against the Dodgers in his second back-to-back start. a sticky suspension. Martinez’s home run was the only run allowed by the German, and he troubled the Dodgers with his curve, changeup and impeccable command.
“That’s Domingo. I think I looked up there at one point and it was like three balls and 28 strikes,” Boone said. “He was filling the area and he was unpredictable. His curveball and changeup were outstanding, but I think he did a good job of staying unpredictable. He occasionally worked the top of the four-seam strike zone and then put it into action. This is what the order looks like. This is an order of great importance. That’s what you have to have when you go up against a lineup like the Dodgers.”
Added the German: “It was my priority to take a shot, then extend whenever I needed to.”
He now has a 3.69 ERA over 11 starts this season.
Clay Holmes pitched a scoreless frame in relief of German, while Wandy Peralta handled the remaining outings.
Dodgers starter Bobby Miller also did well, as the rookie right-hander surrendered just one Yankees hit in six scoreless innings. Miller, 24, walked two and struck out seven in the third start of his young career.
“He was shooting today,” Boone said. “Obviously he was tough on us. I mean, that’s a big arm. I heard about him a little while ago and that arm came as advertised.”
Despite the rookie’s efforts, the Yankees still managed to win a decisive game on the road. The win capped off a successful west coast trip, and the Yankees went 4-2 at Seattle and Los Angeles.
“Look, it’s obviously tough any time you get all the way out west,” Boone said, “and you’re facing two teams in Seattle and what they’re doing pitching-wise and then obviously the Dodgers.”
With the road trip over, the Yankees have an off day on Monday. The day should yield more on Aaron Judge (toe) and Nestor Cortes (shoulder), among others, as the two are expected to undergo further tests and evaluations back to New York.
Judge, who injured his toe while breaking down the door on Saturday, said he expects to have X-rays and/or an MRI in New York.
Asked if it looked like he had a broken finger, Judge said: “It’s hard to say. I’ve never broken a toe. So we’ll see what the tests say. I don’t want to throw anything out there just yet.”
The 6-7, 282-pound slugger answered questions while standing tall and wearing socks and flip-flops. If there was any additional protection or padding under the stocking, it was not obvious. The judge had no visible limp as he made his way to his locker.
He also said not playing Sunday was “precautionary” but seemed resigned to the possibility of going on the injured list.
“I really don’t care at this point,” Judge said. “If I’m on it, I’m on it. I’m trying not to be, but I haven’t heard back yet. Hopefully today and tomorrow, resting a bit, I’ll be good to go, hopefully on Tuesday. We’re going to take it day by day right now.”
Meanwhile, Cortes said “the plan” is for him to miss two or three starts. He hopes his shoulder is just a case of inflammation.
“I’m not really worried,” said Cortes, who has struggled to bounce back in a couple of starts. “It’s just a lot of pain. I haven’t been able to bounce back like I wanted to between starts. Hopefully everything comes back clean on the MRI tomorrow and we can just move on and get better.”
The Yankees begin a three-game set against the White Sox on Tuesday when Clarke Schmidt is scheduled to pitch. Lucas Giolito will pitch for Chicago.
Schmidt exits his best start of the seasonwhile tossing 5.2 scoreless innings against the Mariners on May 31st. The righty has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts.
With Cortes is probably headed for the injured list, the Yankees’ Wednesday starter remains up in the air. Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez are two starters on the 40-man roster who have played in the majors this season and could line up for Wednesday’s game.
Former Yankee Lance Lynn will start for the South Siders on Wednesday, while Mike Clevinger will face Luis Severino on Thursday before the Yankees play the Red Sox over the weekend.
That streak will mark the Yanks’ first against their division rival this year.