Joey Gallo needed that one, even if the Yankees couldn’t pull off another late victory over the Orioles.
Gallo remained in the No. 2 spot in the batting order Saturday despite a 1-for-20 skid that had dropped his overall batting average for the season to .199 — and just .134 since he was acquired from the Rangers in July.
Gallo rewarded Aaron Boone’s confidence with a game-tying, two-run homer in the eighth inning before the Yankees ultimately fell, 4-3, to Baltimore at the Stadium.
“That was pretty big for me individually. Things obviously haven’t been going great for me,” said Gallo, who was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. “It’s part of the game, and I’m learning how to deal with that and keep pushing every day. It was good to get a little bit of a result in a pretty big situation. Hopefully I can build off that.”
Despite Gallo’s prolonged slump, Boone said the Yankees still view the lefty slugger as a good fit between leadoff batter DJ LeMahieu and sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Gallo had gone 0-for-4 in Friday’s 11-inning victory, with three strikeouts and a first-pitch pop-up with the winning run on third and one out in the 10th inning.
“I thought he was maybe a little jumpy in his last couple of bats [Friday] night. Probably wanted to get that result, you know,” Boone said. “So really it’s just making sure the focus is on the quality of the at-bats, and trust in that and then trust when you are having those at-bats, the results are going to be there.”
Gleyber Torres was out of the starting lineup after going 0-for-4 in his return from a thumb injury Friday night. Gary Sanchez also didn’t start after playing the previous night. Both players entered as pinch-hitters in the seventh inning. Torres had an RBI infield single before striking out to end the game in the ninth, and Sanchez went 0-for-2.
Gio Urshela (wrist) sat out his third straight game but worked out on the field before the game and said he hopes to play Sunday.
Domingo German (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Friday, and he’s scheduled for another one Monday, Boone said. The manager still believes German and Luis Severino (shoulder stiffness) have time to have an impact on the Yankees in September.
“I think there’s time, but it might be cutting it close in some cases,” Boone said. “Sevy’s doing well but, not quite ready to get on the mound yet. Domingo throwing [Friday], and is obviously, closer than when he was last in action. So they can impact this, whether it’s out of the bullpen and shorter stints, whether it’s giving us bulk. … We’ll see how their progression goes and see at what point they’re able to help us and in what role.”
Corey Kluber will make his second start Sunday after returning from the injured list by allowing five runs in four innings — including a grand slam by Jack Mayfield — in Monday’s 8-7 loss to the Angels.
“I think the first few innings of the last one were good, but avoiding big innings is important especially at this level,” Kluber said. “If I don’t make a bad pitch with the bases loaded, maybe it’s a different story.
“But ultimately I did. It’s just trying to minimize mistakes as much as possible. I felt like I executed pitches pretty well aside from a couple in the fourth inning, and ultimately the biggest one.”