It’s a rare sight to see Clay Holmes make a stoppage this season. It is even rarer to see the plumber get burned on a home run. Sunday was that weird day in the Bronx when the Yankees came close on Salvador Perez’s fly ball hammered deep inside the stadium. The Royals’ catcher’s three-run homer in the top of the ninth beat the Yankees 8-6.
It was Holmes’ third missed save in his last nine appearances and the first home run he’s allowed this season. Batters are rarely able to lift Holmes’ heavy lead ball, he has a remarkable flyball rate of 4.5%. Perez’s shot sailed 441 feet into Monument Park.
In the bottom of the inning, DJ LeMahieu worked an eight at-bat for a one-out single to bring Aaron Judge home as the tying run. The judge flew out to right field. Anthony Rizzo worked an eight-pitch, two-out walk to bring up Gleyber Torres, who flew out.
It handed the Yankees (69-33) their first loss in four games. It’s the Bombers’ second loss as they led after eight innings this season, going 55-2 as they head into the ninth with a lead. The Royals (40-62) had already lost the four-game series here, but they avoided the sweep of the season.
Until the ninth, Sunday played out as one of the Yankees’ routine wins.
After Amir Garret walked Judge in the seventh inning, Anthony Rizzo made the Royals pay. The first baseman hit his 25th homer, a three-run shot from right-handed reliever Dylan Coleman, giving him 62 RBIs this season. It was Rizzo’s second home run in as many games and the seventh time in his career he hit at least 25 home runs. It was the first time he had turned 25 since 2019.
LeMahieu has homered in consecutive games for the first time this season. The two-run homer was his 11th of the season and he played for 42 runs. He had a more DJ LeMahieu-like July, hitting .341/.464/.462 with a .926 OPS in all 24 games that month leading up to Sunday’s series finale. Kyle Higashioka led the Yankees’ other run on a single.
Veteran right-hander Zack Greinke held the Yankees to three earned runs on five hits, including a home run. He struck out three and walked two in five innings pitched.
Jordan Montgomery went four innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out six. In his last two starts, Montgomery has allowed nine runs in 6.1 innings pitched.
The southpaw went through the first four innings, giving up 11 straight after a first-inning single against Bobby Witt, Jr. In the fourth, he lost the strike zone. He walked the first two batters he faced and gave up back-to-back singles to MJ Melendez and Nick Pratto. Two points scored on Pratto’s flying ball simple on the left. Maikel Garcia doubled to drive in another and Whit Merrifield’s takedown to Albert Abreu’s shortstop allowed another to score.
Ron Marinaccio, who hadn’t given up a hit since June 7, gave up his first run since April 28 when Hunter Dozier started the eighth with a home run from the right-handed reliever. That snapped a streak of 19 scoreless innings and 56 batting in a row without giving up a hit.
Jonathan Loaisiga, who hadn’t pitched since Wednesday night’s loss to the Mets, pitched a scoreless inning. Albert Abreu, who was designated for an assignment by the Royals earlier this season, went 1.2 innings scoreless.