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Shohei Ohtani spotted the Yankees seven runs before the first inning ended Wednesday night.
Eight innings and two rain delays later, Aroldis Chapman and Lucas Luetge returned the favor to place the dagger and twist it in a brutal Yankees loss.
After Chapman walked the bases loaded and allowed a game-tying grand slam in the ninth, Luetge relieved him and gave up three more runs to hand the Yankees an 11-8 loss to the Angels.
The Yankees (41-39) had led 7-2 after the first inning and entered the ninth with an 8-4 lead. It served as the latest stunner in their inconsistent season, with their series against the Angels (39-41) including plenty of drama before it wraps up on Thursday. On Monday, Boone opened the series by saying the Yankees’ “season is on the line” before a fourth straight loss. Tuesday, general manager Brian Cashman said “we suck right now,” before the Yankees exploded for an 11-5 win.
Wednesday, Chapman was booed off the mound by the remaining fans at Yankee Stadium after he had coughed up the lead in a second straight appearance. He was pitching for the first time since last Wednesday, when he blew a save against the Royals that led to an outburst in the dugout.
Luetge relieved him and issued a walk and a single before pinch-hitter Luis Rengifo came through with a two-run, two-out single to put the Angels ahead 10-8. Taylor Ward added an RBI double as the Angels batted around, leading to the crowd mustering a “Fire Boone” chant before the inning mercifully ended.
Long before the disaster struck, the Yankees had discovered the best way to contain Ohtani the hitter: quickly knock out Ohtani the pitcher.
After the Angels’ two-way star had crushed three homers in the first two games of the series, he took the mound Wednesday and gave up a career-high seven runs and recorded just two outs. He threw 41 pitches and walked four batters as his highly anticipated Yankee Stadium pitching debut ended in a fizzle.
The game featured a pair of rain delays — the first lasting 42 minutes in the bottom of the third and the second taking 91 minutes after the top of the fifth — with thunderstorms rolling through The Bronx.
Ohtani, who entered with a 2.58 ERA and became the first pitcher to start a day after a multi-home run game since Babe Ruth in 1930, flew out to center to lead off the game before falling apart on the mound.
MLB’s leader with 28 home runs started the bottom of the first by walking the bases loaded. Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres then collected back-to-back RBI singles to tie the game at two.
After Ohtani struck out Rougned Odor, he recorded the second out by getting Miguel Andujar to ground out, which drove in another run for the 3-2 Yankees lead.
But Ohtani then hit Clint Frazier on an 0-2 pitch and walked Brett Gardner on four pitches, forcing in another run and spelling the end of his night. The right-hander, who turned down the Yankees when coming over from Japan in 2017, walked off the mound to a Bronx cheer.
Aaron Slegers relieved Ohtani and immediately gave up a bases-clearing double to DJ LeMahieu for the 7-2 Yankees lead, putting the last, damaging touches on Ohtani’s final line.
Domingo German was hardly sharp himself, but the Yankees’ right-hander at least made it through three innings on 72 pitches while giving up three runs. He was tagged for a two-run homer in the first inning, the 15th home run he has allowed in 15 starts this season.
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