MILWAUKEE – The Yankees’ four-game hitting streak ended with a bang Friday night in a 7-6 loss to the Brewers when they blew an early five-run lead before Garrett Mitchell’s two-out RBI single up the middle by Clay Holmes in the bottom of the ninth gave Milwaukee the win.
Hunter Renfroe led off the ninth with a double, Kolten Wong hit a grounder that sent him to third and Andrew McCutchen walked.
Holmes struck out Jace Peterson before walking Victor Caratini to load the bases and bring up Mitchell.
The loss dropped the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to 5 ½ games over the Blue Jays, who defeated Baltimore.
But while the game was lost in the ninth, Frankie Montas is still a concern for the Yankees. The right-hander was unable to get out of the fourth inning and his ERA as a Yankee increased to 6.35 in eight starts.
“I’ve got to do a better job,” said Montas, one of the Yankees’ top acquisitions at the trade deadline. “I didn’t perform the way I want.”
Asked if he believed Montas could return to being the pitcher the Yankees hoped would slide into the No. 2 spot behind Gerrit Cole heading into the playoffs, manager Aaron Boone said, “We need him. He’ll be back out there.
“We have to move him in a good direction [to get] momentum.”
And Boone is confident he can get there before the postseason.
“We have to keep working on it,” he said. “He can be a difference maker when he’s going well.”
Despite Montas’ poor outing, Josh Donaldson tied the game with a homer in the top of the ninth off Taylor Rogers and rookie Oswaldo Cabrera followed with a double to right-center.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa knocked Cabrera to third, but Miguel Andujar, in the game for an ill Marwin Gonzalez, struck out looking. Kyle Higashioka, who replaced an injured Jose Trevino, then flew out.
The Yankees got off to a fast start, staking Montas to a 5-0 lead in the second inning.
Aaron Judge — who had two more hits, but no homer — led off the game with an infield single. After Giancarlo Stanton flew out, Gleyber Torres continued his hot hitting with a double to center to send Judge to third.
Donaldson’s sacrifice fly to left scored Judge for the game’s first run.
After Cabrera walked, Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to center to drive in Torres and Gonzalez followed with another base hit up the middle, knocking in Cabrera to make it 3-0.
The Yankees added to their lead in the second, loading the bases with nobody out on an Aaron Hicks infield hit, a Judge-Control swing single to center and a walk to Stanton.
After Torres flew out to shallow left, Donaldson hit a slow roller to shortstop. The Brewers tried to turn a double play, but second baseman Wong bounced the throw to first and Rowdy Tellez didn’t get in front of it. This allowed Hicks and Judge to score for a 5-0 lead.
But Montas continued his Sonny Gray impression in the bottom of the inning, giving up a two-out, three-run homer to Willy Adames. The 427-foot shot cut the Yankees’ lead to two runs.
Montas was pulled with just one out in the fourth in his fifth loss in eight starts as a Yankee.
Lucas Luetge struggled and gave up a single to Yelich and an RBI double to Adames to cut the Yankees’ lead to 5-4.
A sacrifice fly by Tellez tied the score at 5-5
Greg Weissert got the final out of the fourth and Domingo Germano came in for his second straight appearance out of the bullpen and pitched well again, throwing 1 ²/₃ shutout innings.
Wandy Peralta and Lou Trivino combined to retire four straight batters.
Jonathan Loaisiga entered in the bottom of the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to Peterson. Omar Narvaez pushed back to Loaisiga, who fired to second, where Kiner-Falefa made a terrific shot to get the force.
But Torres couldn’t come up with a play to right on Mitchell’s hard grounder for an infield hit and Yelich hit what would have been an inning-ending double play after the Brewers challenged the call.
Kiner-Falefa then couldn’t handle a sharp grounder from Adames and Milwaukee continued.