Kiner-Falefa’s Heroics Lift Yankees to 3-2 Victory over Padres in 10th Inning

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New York Yankees 3, San Diego Padres 2

NEW YORK — In a thrilling showdown on Saturday, Isiah Kiner-Falefa seized the moment with a game-ending single in the 10th inning, propelling the New York Yankees to a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres. With one out on the board, Kiner-Falefa’s timely hit sealed the win for the Yankees, leaving fans elated and the Padres with a hard-fought defeat.

In the eighth and ninth innings, Anthony Volpe and Aaron Judge hit into double plays for the New York Yankees. Isiah Kiner-Falefa rescued the team. Kiner-Falefa hit a line drive against Nick Martinez with a 2-0 count, nearly missing third baseman Rougned Odor’s glove. The Yankees’ fifth walk-off win of the season came after Greg Allen scored on the clinching single.

Kiner-Falefa explained that he had been attempting to assess if the pitcher would aggressively target him. He noted that the pitcher had thrown two balls outside the strike zone, and he had been actively searching for an opportunity. Kiner-Falefa had anticipated that the pitcher would deliver a high pitch, allowing him to execute a pop fly to left field. However, he acknowledged being slightly ahead of the pitch, resulting in his ability to hook it down the line instead.

Kiner-Falefa achieved his third career walk-off hit, marking a significant milestone for him. This particular walk-off hit held additional significance as it was his first since joining the Yankees as a shortstop last season. Notably, Kiner-Falefa accomplished this feat while making his outfield debut, showcasing his versatility and adaptability on the field.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone commented that Kiner-Falefa had displayed tremendous dedication and effort in adjusting to various roles on the team. Boone acknowledged that Kiner-Falefa had put in significant work to adapt and be prepared for any given role. Furthermore, Boone highlighted that Kiner-Falefa had been receiving more starts recently, particularly in matchups where the team believed he could excel. Boone expressed his satisfaction with Kiner-Falefa’s contributions, emphasizing that he had performed admirably and made a positive impact for the team.

Upon securing the crucial hit, Kiner-Falefa found himself in the midst of a celebratory moment. While conducting his postgame interview near the New York dugout, he was pleasantly surprised by a playful gesture from Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo. They doused him with a refreshing water bath, adding an element of joviality and camaraderie to the postgame scene.

DJ LeMahieu praised Kiner-Falefa’s versatility and team-oriented mindset, acknowledging his willingness to embrace multiple positions without any complaints. LeMahieu described Kiner-Falefa as a dedicated player who possesses a strong desire to contribute on the field. Regarding Kiner-Falefa’s game-winning hit, LeMahieu expressed confidence in his teammate’s abilities, stating that it was one of those at-bats where he was certain Kiner-Falefa would deliver a hit.

DJ LeMahieu outperformed Padres starter Michael Wacha. After a first-inning RBI double, LeMahieu hit a seventh-inning home run to tie the game. LeMahieu’s home run saved the Yankees from a fourth straight loss. LeMahieu’s 11th career home run in the seventh inning or later cemented his status as a clutch hitter.

Continuing his impressive streak, Fernando Tatis Jr. showcased his power by hitting a home run for the second consecutive game, marking his ninth home run of the season. Tatis’ homer stood as San Diego’s sole hit against Luis Severino, who pitched 6 2/3 innings. Additionally, Ha-Seong Kim contributed to the Padres’ offensive efforts with an RBI single in the seventh inning off Michael King. Despite limited hits, the Padres managed to make their mark on the scoreboard with these impactful plays.

Struggling to find their offensive rhythm, the Padres mustered only three hits throughout the game. Their performance with runners in scoring position was subpar, as they went 1 for 6 in such situations. Unfortunately, the Padres’ inability to secure a victory meant they were unable to achieve a three-game winning streak for the first time since April 29 to May 1.

In his second start following his return from a strained right lat, Luis Severino conceded two runs, with one being unearned. Despite his efforts, Severino had to contend with the challenge of allowing a small number of runs during his recent outings as he works his way back to full form.

Clay Holmes, who entered the game in the 10th inning, got Tatis to hit a soft grounder. Tatis was called out when replay review overturned an infield hit, ending the inning. The Yankees‘ defense relied on Holmes’ precision.

After surrendering two runs and five hits, Michael Wacha handed over the game to Nick Martinez (2-2) for the remaining 2 1/3 innings. Wacha’s performance on the mound set the stage for Martinez to take control and contribute to the team’s efforts to secure the victory.

Fernando Tatis Jr. contributed after Luis Severino retired the first 10 hitters. Tatis hit a 0-1 slider 426 feet into the San Diego bullpen. Tatis celebrated his home run by hopping and stuttering to third base. He clapped and shook hands with Juan Soto near the on-deck circle after crossing the plate. Tatis’ skill and exuberance electrified the game.

UP NEXT

In a thrilling pitching matchup, Yankees’ RHP Gerrit Cole (5-0, 2.53 ERA) faces off against Padres’ RHP Yu Darvish (3-3, 3.67 ERA) on Sunday.

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