Isiah Kiner-Falefa shines despite Yankees’ loss to Mariners

New York Yankees' Isiah Kiner-Falefa runs the bases on a two-run home run during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Boston.

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Despite the disappointing loss to the Mariners, the New York Yankees again showed they have the most loyal fans in MLB. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a position player, took the mound and delivered an impressive scoreless inning, even securing his first career strikeout, which made the fanbase proud.

The New York Yankees fans who remained in the stands throughout the disappointing loss to the Mariners on Thursday night were treated to an extraordinary sight, especially with some terrible performances on the pitch from essential players on the roster. For a brief moment, they could imagine what it would be like if the Yankees had their version of the sensational two-way star Shohei Ohtani from the Angels. 

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a position player, took to the pitcher’s mound in the ninth inning against Seattle. It was his third pitching appearance of the season, and he delivered an impressive scoreless inning, even securing his first career strikeout.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa made history

New York Yankees' Isiah Kiner-Falefa playing in a MLB game.

Nevertheless, that wasn’t all. In the bottom of the inning, Isiah Kiner-Falefa unleashed a towering two-run home run, making him the first Yankees player since Lindy McDaniel in 1972 to achieve such a remarkable combination of pitching and hitting in a game.

After the game, a disappointing 10-2 loss to Seattle, Kiner-Falefa expressed his surprise at being brought in as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning. He had expected to pitch the ninth but ended up taking over at third base instead of Josh Donaldson. Despite the turn of events, he embraced the opportunity to rise, even amid another lopsided defeat. Isiah Kiner-Falefa saw it as a chance to redeem himself after allowing a run in his previous pitching outing against Boston just a week ago.

In the ninth inning, Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s 78.8-mph pitch below the strike zone led Mariner’s third baseman Eugenio Suarez to swing and miss, resulting in Kiner-Falefa’s first MLB strikeout. The fans who remained in the stands erupted with cheers, creating one of the most electrifying moments of the night in the Bronx. Kiner-Falefa held onto the baseball, cherishing it as an unexpected and unique keepsake from his memorable pitching performance.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s accomplishment of hitting a home run and pitching in the same game made him the first Yankees player since Nick Swisher in 2009 to achieve such a feat. While it couldn’t overshadow the team’s overall poor performance that night, it provided an exhilarating memory for Kiner-Falefa, a veteran player who has excelled in his versatile utility role this season, willing to contribute in any way necessary.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa vs. Shohei Ohtani

New York Yankees' Isiah Kiner-Falefa vs Los Angeles Angels' star Shohei Ohtani

As per Max Goodman’s report on, it’s unfair to compare Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s abilities to the exceptional talent of Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani’s unmatched skills as a two-way player make him stand out in the league. Although many Yankees fans hope for their team to acquire him, it’s uncertain if the Los Angeles Angels would be willing to trade him away, especially since they are in a playoff race and are determined to end their long nine-year playoff drought. However, based on his performance, Isiah Kiner-Falefa falls far behind the Japanese star.

Even if Shohei Ohtani were to become available later in the season, it’s doubtful that the Yankees would be willing to deplete their farm system to acquire him. Furthermore, the chances of signing Ohtani in free agency this offseason are slim, as the 28-year-old is expected to secure a record-breaking contract in the open market.

Isaiah Kiner-Falefa has another mission ahead of the Yankees tonight as they prepare to face the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium. And maybe, the player could have a good game and start writing his history, donning the colors of one of the most important franchises in American sports.

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