The Yankees would have found a way, during the first half of the season, to win the game they played Friday night.
This is not the first half of the season anymore.
Closer Clay Holmes struggled for a second straight appearance, coming into the eighth inning and giving up an infield hit, a walk and a two-run double to Paul DeJong as the Yankees lost their third straight, 4-3. to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St.
With a reconfigured bullpen, manager Aaron Boone walked Holmes in the bottom of the eighth with a 3-2 lead. Boone later said that Aroldis Chapman would have pitched in the ninth if the Yankees were still ahead.
“It’s not easy for us right now,” Boone said of his team, which is 70-36 but is just 12-16 over the last 28 games.
Holmes was not the only culprit. The Yankees scored only three runs, and did not score at all after the fifth, despite beating St. Louis, 10-5.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” said Matt Carpenter, who had two hits and a near-homer but grounded out to end the game with the tying run on first. “It definitely feels like a game we kind of dominated the whole time. They kept it close and put us away.”
The eighth inning started innocuously, when Holmes gave up a soft infield hit to Nolan Arenado with one out. He then walked Tyler O’Neill with two outs before DeJong — now 5-for-7 against Holmes — smacked a two-run double.
“Something that has made me successful is limiting contact to fairies,” Holmes said. “Giving up a double down the line, especially with runners, can’t happen.”
The fact that Chapman has been pitching better lately, as well as the addition of Scott Effross (who was acquired from the Cubs on Monday and pitched well in 1¹/₃ innings on Friday) and Lou Trivino at the deadline, figures to do for. a much different bullpen down the stretch.
“Hopefully we all roll like we’re capable and [Chapman] builds momentum,” Boone said. “We have a lot of options there.”
That would allow Holmes to attack righties in the seventh, eighth or ninth, but he has been less effective lately.
Nestor Cortes pitched well, but wasn’t as sharp as usual, tying a season high with four walks in just 5 ¹/₃ innings.
The Yankees took the lead in the top of the first after DJ LeMahieu led off with a walk. Aaron Judge flied out, but LeMahieu moved to third on a Carpenter single.
With two outs, Josh Donaldson drilled an RBI double to right-center, scoring LeMahieu and sending Carpenter to third.
The Cardinals tied the score in the bottom of the second thanks to a pair of walks by Cortes and a two-out, run-scoring single by Yadier Molina.
Donaldson came up with his second RBI of the night in the third, singling in a run after Judge and Carpenter led off with singles against Dakota Hudson.
Torres delivered in the fifth. After Judge singled and stole second, he moved to third on a Carpenter groundout after Hudson was replaced by Andre Pallante. Torres then reached on an infield hit that drove in Judge to make it 3-1.
Cortes, who had allowed just three runs in 18 innings over his previous three starts, settled into a groove after Molina’s RBI single, retiring nine straight until a walk in the fifth.
But Cortes also matched a season high with four walks, including one to Paul Goldschmidt that ended Cortes’ night with one out in the bottom of the sixth.
A wild pitch by Albert Abreu, who took over for Cortes, sent Goldschmidt to second.
A single by Arenado put runners on the corners before Abreu struck out Nolan Gorman, pinch-hitting for Albert Pujols, for the second out.
But Abreu faltered and allowed a hit by O’Neill to make it 3-2 as Cortes ended up being charged with two runs.
Effross came in and struck out DeJong to preserve the one-run lead.
Pallante, meanwhile, took over for Hudson and threw four scoreless innings.
Ryan Hesley finished the game for the Cardinals. After he walked LeMahieu with one out in the ninth, Tim Locastro pinch ran, but Judge and Carpenter couldn’t get through.