Yankees' Jameson Taillon toys with perfection before settling for thrilling comeback win over Angels

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Friday, June 3, 2022

Jameson Taillon took a perfect game into the eighth inning, then fell behind before the hostNew York Yankees rallied past the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 Thursday night on a clutch swing by pinch-hitter Anthony Rizzo.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Rizzo grounded a two-run single up the middle. Clay Holmes left the bases loaded in the ninth, and the Yankees swept a thrilling doubleheader while handing the Angels their eighth straight loss -- the team's worst skid since 2019.

Jared Walsh ended Taillon's bid for a perfect game in the top of the eighth with a groundball double off shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa's glove. He scored on Kurt Suzuki's single for a 1-0 lead.

"There was a certain point I was sitting in the tunnel and I was kind of thinking, like, my buddies on other teams are probably starting to be aware of it," Taillon said, adding, "I definitely thought there's a small chance we could do it.''

The Yankees countered by loading the bases with one out in the bottom half against Oliver Ortega (1-2). Archie Bradley relieved and struck out Joey Gallo, then got two strikes on Rizzo.

The former Chicago Cubs star ripped a 1-2 pitch up the middle, scoringMiguel Andujarand Kiner-Falefa easily.

"There's no panic or riding the roller coaster, if you will," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the topsy-turvy ending. "It's like, 'We've got to find a way right here.'''

Holmes replaced Taillon in the ninth and earned his seventh save. He walkedShohei Ohtaniwith two outs, drilled Mike Trout in the left arm with a pitch and also plunked Walsh on the knee before Luis Rengifo grounded out.

Trout seemed to be in significant pain but remained in the game.

Taillon allowed two hits, striking out five without a walk on a season-high 101 pitches.

Taillon cruised through seven innings on 83 pitches, six outs from a perfect game with Ohtani and Trout already out of his way.

Walsh led off the eighth with a grounder up the middle. Kiner-Falefa shifted to the right side of second base, chased after it, slid and hurried to make a backhand grab and throw. The ball skipped off his mitt into shallow left field, allowing Walsh to reach second.

Taillon grimaced slightly and spit, but otherwise didn't react much to the hit.

He was visited by a trainer three batters later after covering first base on Brandon Marsh's groundout. The right-hander insisted he was good to stay in, then gave up Suzuki's line drive to left that scored Walsh.

Kiner-Falefa preserved the perfect game in the seventh with a nice backhand stop and off-balance throw to get Ohtani. The two-way star pleaded with Angels manager Joe Maddon to challenge, but replays showed the throw to first just beat the speedy Ohtani.

Trout then flied out to left, drawing a big ovation from a Yankee Stadium crowd that sensed history.

"When Izzy made that play, you kind of started letting your mind go there,'' Boone said.

After lefty Nestor Cortes pitched seven scoreless innings in the opener, Taillon became the seventh straight Yankees starter to cover at least six innings, a first for the franchise since 2017.

Taillon mixed six different pitches, showcasing the finesse and control that's led to a stellar start to this season. Coming off right ankle surgery in the offseason, he's 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA and five walks in 58 innings.

Selected second overall by Pittsburgh between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in the 2010 draft, Taillon has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. He's had Tommy John surgery twice, missed time with a sports hernia and had an operation for testicular cancer in 2017 that sidelined him for five weeks.

Taillon's opponent on the mound, Reid Detmers, threw one of two no-hitters in the majors this season. Detmers no-hit Tampa Bay on May 10. The other was a combined effort by five New York Mets pitchers April 29 against Philadelphia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report