Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, the New York Yankees leaned on their two biggest stars -- Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge -- as well as an unexpected power source to pick up a 6-3 win (box score) over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Los Angeles won the series opener Friday (LA 8, NY 4). The series concludes Sunday night.
Here are three things to know about Saturday's star-laden Yankees win as well as a quick look ahead at Sunday's series finale.
Bauers went deep twice
The Yankees expect Harrison Bader to return late next week and, when he does, they will have to decide who stays and who goes to clear a roster spot. Fill-in outfielder Jake Bauers helped his case Saturday. The fourth year big leaguer had his first career two-homer game as he took rookie Michael Grove deep for a pair of two-run homers.
Bauers' first home run gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead and his second gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead. They eventually stretched that out to a 5-1 lead and later a 6-3 lead thanks to solo home runs from (who else?) Judge and Oswaldo Cabrera. Cabrera is also a candidate to lose his roster spot when Bader returns from the injured list.
Between Triple-A and MLB, Bauers has hit 14 home runs in only 156 plate appearances this season. His career high is 16 homers in 610 plate appearances back in 2018, also split between Triple-A and MLB.
Cole exited with cramping
After a few rocky outings in May, Cole started June with a stellar effort Saturday, holding the Dodgers to one run in six efficient innings. The run scored when Cole hit Jason Heyward with an 0-2 pitch, then allowed a David Peralta bloop single along the left field foul line. Los Angeles didn't exactly punish the ball to score that second inning run.
Cole was so efficient he needed only 80 pitches to get through those six innings, though that would be the end of his evening. He exited with cramping, according to the Fox Sports broadcast. There was a brief delay earlier in the game when Cole went to drink water in the middle of his warm up pitches. It's unclear what cramped up, exactly.
The Dodgers were happy to see Cole out of the game, of course. Lefty Wandy Peralta allowed all three batters he faced to reach base -- all righties who pinch-hit for lefties -- and the Dodgers were able to push two runs across in the seventh to make it a ballgame. Setup man Michael King stranded two runners on Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman lineouts, and a Will Smith strikeout.
Judge ran through a wall for his team
Quite literally. In the eighth inning, Judge made a fantastic running catch to rob J.D. Martinez of extra bases, and in the process dislodged the bullpen fence in right field. Check it out:
Fortunately Judge was not hurt and the fence was quickly repaired. Martinez's rocket had an .890 expected batting average based on the exit velocity and launch angle, according to Statcast. It was a tremendous catch.
Also, as noted earlier, Judge also went deep earlier in the game. The solo shot was his 19th home run of the season, one behind Pete Alonso for the MLB lead. Judge missed 10 games earlier this season with a minor hip issue, so he has considerably fewer at-bats than Alonso. The reigning AL MVP once again made an impact on both sides of the ball Saturday.
The Yankees and Dodgers have split the first two games of this three-game weekend series and will wrap it up with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game. Domingo Germán (3-3, 3.98 ERA) will start for New York. It will be his second start back from his 10-game foreign substance suspension. Rookie Bobby Miller (2-0, 1.64 ERA) will start for the Dodgers. It will be Miller's third career big league start.