Brito’s majestic comeback propels Yankees to 4-2 win against Mariners


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New York Yankees 4, Seattle Mariners 2

NEW YORK — Jhony Brito delivered an outstanding performance in his comeback to the major leagues, pitching an impressive 5 2/3 innings without conceding a single run. His remarkable display led the New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

In a series marked by the absence of Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees found inspiration in unexpected sources. Substitute players Jake Bauers and Billy McKinney both hit home runs off Luis Castillo (4-6), propelling the Yankees to their first series win since Judge’s injury. With Judge sidelined, New York had struggled with a 6-8 record and had not secured a series victory since triumphing over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game showdown 2 1/2 weeks earlier.

In a display of rookie prowess, Anthony Volpe showcased his power by blasting his 10th home run of the season in the seventh inning. It was a momentous feat, especially considering that he had come tantalizingly close to a home run earlier in the third inning.

Making a long-awaited return from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Jhony Brito took the mound for his 10th career start, marking his first appearance since May 20. Demonstrating shades of his earlier performances when he allowed just one run in his initial two starts after securing a spot in the team during spring training, Brito showcased his undeniable talent once again.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone praised Jhony Brito, stating that he had experienced a few challenging outings, with one in particular standing out. However, Boone believed that, for the most part, Brito performed well and either kept the team in the game or demonstrated excellent pitching skills. According to Boone, Brito consistently showcased his impressive abilities and displayed efficiency in his pitches during the mentioned start, which made Boone proud of his performance.

Brito (4-3) did a good job, holding the other team to only two hits while striking out three hitters and only walking one. This was the first time in his career that he made it to the sixth inning as a starter. It’s important to note that Brito had thrown in the sixth inning before, but only as a “bulk reliever” in a game in Toronto on May 15.

Brito explained that his main objectives while playing down in the minors were centered around commanding the strike zone with his fastball, effectively utilizing the sinker on both sides of the plate, and ensuring that his changeup remained low in the strike zone. He also mentioned that he had dedicated considerable effort to refining his slider, which had been yielding positive outcomes. Overall, Brito emphasized the importance of fine-tuning his pitch repertoire and creating a strong combination of pitches as his primary focus.

Following four starts in Triple-A where he recorded a 7.08 ERA, the right-handed pitcher made his return to the Yankees. Despite competition from Randy Vásquez, he was chosen to take the place of Nestor Cortes, who is currently recuperating from a strained left rotator cuff.

McKinney expressed his admiration, stating that he found it incredibly impressive to witness. According to McKinney, the pitcher showcased remarkable skills and possessed a significant amount of talent.

After surrendering a leadoff single to José Caballero, Brito proceeded to retire 12 consecutive batters, demonstrating his dominance on the mound. However, his streak was broken when Jarred Kelenic singled to begin the fifth inning. Eventually, Brito received a warm ovation from the crowd as he left the game after issuing a walk to Julio Rodríguez.

Brito received additional support from Bauers’ exceptional fielding in the opening inning. With the final out at stake, Bauers exhibited his defensive prowess by sprinting backward and executing a magnificent leap in front of the right field fence. His acrobatic catch prevented Teoscar Hernández from securing a potential double, solidifying Brito’s performance on the mound.

Following his remarkable defensive display, Bauers continued to make an impact at the plate. In the third inning, he connected with a well-timed fastball, sending it soaring over the right-center field seats. This marked his sixth home run since joining the Yankees after his recall. Notably, Bauers’ home run came shortly after Volpe narrowly missed hitting a home run down the right-field line, ultimately settling for a walk.

Bauers mentioned that during his at-bat, he swung and missed at two fastballs. He had a hunch that either a fastball or a changeup would be the pitch he would face. According to Bauers, it seemed like the pitcher missed his intended location with the fastball, which resulted in a favorable outcome for him.

McKinney’s home run spree continued as he smacked a long ball for the second consecutive game, making it his third homer since being called up to fill in for Judge. With an impressive swing, the outfielder extended the Yankees‘ lead to 3-0 by launching a 1-0 fastball that traveled approximately halfway up the second deck in right field, covering a remarkable distance of 414 feet.

In his fourth consecutive defeat, Castillo yielded three runs and four hits over the course of five innings. During this time, he managed to strike out three batters but also issued four walks. Notably, this marked the fourth encounter between Castillo and the Yankees in less than a year.

Boone expressed his satisfaction, mentioning that he was pleased to witness their team’s ability to consistently challenge and tire out a top-tier starter like Castillo. According to Boone, the Yankees’ relentless approach forced Castillo to exert considerable effort throughout the game.

Castillo, who the Yankees had attempted to acquire from Cincinnati during last year’s trade deadline, experienced a streak of four consecutive losses, a situation he hadn’t encountered since enduring a seven-game slide from April 25 to May 29, 2021. Notably, Castillo struggled with his control, issuing a total of 10 walks over his last two starts. Additionally, he had the unfortunate distinction of allowing multiple home runs in two out of his last three outings.

Castillo, speaking through a translator, described his performance as a disappointing outing. According to him, he acknowledged that he struggled with controlling all four of his pitches and wasn’t able to locate them where he intended. Castillo attributed this lack of command as the primary reason for considering it a poor outing on his part.

After Brito’s solid performance, Jimmy Cordero took the mound and efficiently secured the next four outs. In the eighth inning, Wandy Peralta surrendered a pinch-hit home run to Dylan Moore. In the ninth, Michael King encountered some trouble, allowing two baserunners. However, Tommy Kahnle stepped in and managed to allow only a sacrifice fly to Jarred Kelenic before closing out the game, earning his sixth career save.

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