Clay Holmes saves again to drown Yankees in loss to Cardinals

The Yankees would have found a way, during the first half of the season, to win the game they played Friday night.

This is not the first half of the season anymore.

Closer Clay Holmes struggled for a second straight appearance, coming in in the eighth and giving up a ground kick, walk and double, tight to Paul DeJong, as the Yankees lost for the third time in a row, 4-3 to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

With a reshaped pulp, manager Aaron Boone went to Holmes at the bottom of eighth with a 3-2 lead. Boone later said that Aroldis Chapman would have climbed in ninth if the Yankees were still ahead.

“It’s not easy for us now,” Boone said of his team, which is between 70 and 36 but hasn’t been 12-16 in the last 28 games.

Holmes wasn’t the only culprit. The Yankees scored only three runs, and never scored after the fifth, despite St. Louis’ elimination, 10-5.

Clay Holmes’ reaction after giving up two doubles in the eighth inning.
Clay Holmes blew another rescue.
Clay Holmes blew another rescue.
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“It’s very frustrating,” said Matt Carpenter, who had two hits and likened Homer, but stopped to finish the game with a tie run first. “It definitely feels like a game we’ve been kind of controlling all along. They kept him close and kept us away.”

The eighth inning started innocently, with Holmes giving up a soft kick for Nolan Arenado by one. Tyler O’Neal then walked in with two by DeJong – now 5 for 7 against Holmes – hit twice.

“The thing that has made me successful is limiting the connection to the right,” Holmes said. “Giving up a weakness in the streak, especially with runners, can’t happen.”

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The fact that Chapman has put in a better show recently, as well as the addition of Scott Evros (who acquired the Cubs on Monday and did well in 1¹/innings on Friday) and Lou Trevino on the deadline, are numbers to do much different than the extended Bulls .

“I hope we all roll around like we can and [Chapman] Boone said. “We have a lot of options out there.”

Nestor Cortes made the field Friday during the Yankees' loss to the Cardinals.
Nestor Cortes made the field Friday during the Yankees’ loss to the Cardinals.
USA Today Sports

This would allow Holmes to attack right-handers on the seventh, eighth or ninth, but it has been less effective lately.

Nestor Cortes put on a good tone, but wasn’t as sharp as usual, hitting a season high with four walks in just 5/ rounds.

The Yankees took the lead at the top of the first after DJ LeMahieu led with a walk. Aaron Judge flew, but LeMahieu moved up to third on the Carpenter song.

With two out, Josh Donaldson drilled a double RBI to the right of center, and LeMahieu scored and sent Carpenter into third.

The Cardinals tied at the bottom of a second thanks to a pair of walks by Curtis and a single recorded by Yadier Molina.

Matt Carpenter greets the Cardinals on his return to St. Louis.
Matt Carpenter greets the Cardinals on his return to St. Louis.
Tyler O'Neal (27) and Nolan Arenado (28) celebrate after scoring in the eighth inning.
Tyler O’Neal (27) and Nolan Arenado (28) celebrate after scoring in the eighth inning.
USA Today Sports

Donaldson came in with his second RBI of the night on the third, winning a race after leading the Judge and Carpenter with singles against Dakota Hudson.

Torres delivered on the fifth. After the judge picked and stole second, he moved to third on Carpenter’s grounds after Hudson was replaced by Andre Ballant. Then Torres arrived on the court that drove her at Judge to make it 3-1.

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Curtis, who only allowed three runs in 18 runs over his previous three starts, settled into a groove after Molina’s RBI single, retiring nine in a row until walking in the fifth.

But Curtis equaled a season high with four walks, including one for Paul Goldschmidt who ended Curtis’ night with one exit at the bottom of sixth.

Tyler O'Neal takes the first turn on his RBI song in the sixth inning.
Tyler O’Neal takes the first turn on his RBI song in the sixth inning.

Albert Abreu, who took charge of Curtis, sent Goldschmidt in second.

A song by Arenado runners put on corners before Abreu hits Nolan Gorman, hitting Albert Pujols, for a second time.

But Abreu faltered and allowed a blow from O’Neill to make it 3-2, as Curtis ended up being charged twice.

Evros came in and hit DeJong to maintain the one-round lead.

Meanwhile, Ballant took charge of Hudson and threw four innings without goals.

Ryan Hesley finished the match with the Cardinals. After LeMahieu walked with one at nine, Tim Locastro ran, but Judge and Carpenter couldn’t get through.

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