Alonso’s 11-inning HR lifts Mariners over Yankees
NEW YORK — For the Seattle Mariners, the reaction when Yonder Alonso lifted Aroldis Chapman’s 100 mph fastball over the center field fence was a combination of hope and elation.
First, they hoped the ball would soar high enough, and when it did they celebrated a big hit from one of their newer acquisitions.
Alonso hit a two-out tiebreaking homer off Chapman’s fastball in the top of the 11th inning, lifting the Mariners to a 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
“I’m just trying not to strike out to be honest with you,” Alonso said. “He’s as tough as it gets, no question about it. He’s got electric stuff, he’s got a 100 mph-plus fastball. He’s got a wicked slider. Right there I’m trying to be easy, I’m trying to make contact, just get a strike.”
Alonso won the all-Cuban matchup against his former Cincinnati Reds teammate when he lifted a 2-1 fastball over the fence and into the netting. Once it was apparent he hit it out, the veteran first baseman started running while his teammates began rejoicing in the dugout.
“Going crazy,” Seattle catcher Mike Zunino said of the reaction to the homer. “We were just hoping it stayed high enough. We knew he hit it high enough. It was just one of those things that’s he’s been such a great player for us since coming over from Oakland. For him to come off the bench and put that at-bat together against Aroldis is a big at-bat for him.
It was Alonso’s second homer since being acquired from Oakland Aug. 8 and his 24th overall. It was also a rare homer overall as he became the third left-handed hitter to ever homer against the left-handed Chapman (4-3).
Of course, if the Mariners were aware of that fact at the time, the celebration in the dugout might have been even more wilder.
“If we knew that then, it may have been,” Zunino said. “That’s something that I don’t think we’re pretty aware of.
“It’s just one of those times, he’s obviously one of the elite arms in the league for a while. To be able to see that anytime is pretty big.”
Alonso’s clutch homer lifted the Mariners to their seventh win in nine games on a night when their pitching worked out of three bases-loaded jams and held the Yankees hitless in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“Huge home run by Yonder, which is great to see,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “That’s about as tough as it gets, off of Chapman on a 100 mph fastball that he squared up.”
The homer also continued the current rough stretch for Chapman, who was removed from his closer’s role after allowing a homer to New York Mets rookie Amed Rosario on Aug. 15. That homer occurred two days after he allowed a game-tying blast to Boston rookie Rafael Devers, who homered on a 103 mph pitch and became the second left-handed hitter to homer off him.
“It’s hard to watch anybody struggle,” Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia said. “Obviously, he’s been at an elite level and long time. He works hard. He’ll figure it out. It’s one of those things. It’s baseball and it’s tough. We look for him to bounce back and be a lot better than he is now.”
“It’s frustrating for Chappy, it’s frustrating for us, we’re trying to get it right,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s just difficult right now.”
Alonso’s homer occurred after James Pazos (4-4) pitched a perfect 10th. Edwin Diaz closed out his 30th save by striking out Aaron Hicks after Brett Gardner stole second on a play that the Yankees challenged the initial ruling.
Before Alonso homered, the Mariners took a 1-0 lead on Zunino’s 19th homer in the fourth off Sabathia.
The Yankees tied it in the eighth when Aaron Judge scored from first after center fielder Guillermo Heredia misplayed a double by Didi Gregorius for an error.
The Mariners worked out of bases-loaded jams in the third, fourth and eighth innings.
Left-hander Ariel Miranda escaped in the third and fourth while Nick Vincent struck out Todd Frazier to end the eighth after David Phelps issued two walks when the score was tied.
Sabathia allowed one run and five hits in seven innings.
NOTES: New York Cs Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine both said they will appeal their suspensions for their roles in Thursday’s wild brawl with the Detroit Tigers. Sanchez received a four-game ban and Romine was handed a two-game suspension. ... Seattle 2B Robinson Cano (hamstring) underwent an MRI during Thursday’s off day and it only showed some mild inflammation. Manager Scott Servais said he hopes Cano can play the next two games of the series. ... In addition to the suspensions for Sanchez and Romine, RHP Tommy Kahnle and OF Brett Gardner received fines as did OF Clint Frazier and 1B Garrett Cooper for running on to the field while on the disabled list. ... Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (right shoulder bursitis) threw in each of the last two days and could throw off a mound within a week. ... Seattle LHP James Paxton (strained left pectoral muscle) played catch Thursday and could throw off a mound within a week.