After going 32 games without a walk-off win this season, the Yankees are beginning to make a habit of it.
Giancarlo Stanton ripped a walk-off single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Yankees to a 3-2 win — their second straight walk-off — over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Nationals closer Brad Hand had coughed up a 2-1 lead in Saturday’s ninth inning, a game the Yankees eventually won 4-3 in 11 innings. He didn’t help himself Sunday when he began the bottom of the ninth by walking Tyler Wade on four pitches.
Aaron Judge, who was out of the lineup in a decision manager Aaron Boone called “proactive,” pinch hit for Brett Gardner and drew a walk. DJ LeMahieu then rolled a ground ball to third but beat out a potential double play to put runners on the corners with one out, setting the stage for Stanton’s winner.
Aroldis Chapman had thrown a scoreless top of the ninth to give the Yankees a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning.
The Yankees (18-16) finished the nine-game homestand at 7-2 and moved back to two games above .500 for only the second time this season.
Domingo German was working on a shutout with a 2-0 lead as he cruised into the seventh inning before the Nationals ambushed him to tie the game. Josh Bell led off with a first-pitch double to the gap and, one out later, Kyle Schwarber crushed a high fastball and deposited it into the second deck in right field.
That spelled the end of German’s day, relieved by Michael King after tossing 6 ¹/₃ innings and giving up two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out six. It marked the 19th time in the last 20 games that a Yankees starter has allowed three earned runs or fewer.
The Yankees had chances to retake the lead in the seventh and eighth innings but were missing the big hit. Gardner doubled with one out in the seventh and LeMahieu followed with a walk, but Stanton grounded into a double play. In the eighth, Aaron Hicks got to second base with one out, but he was stranded there after Gary Sanchez struck out and Clint Frazier popped out.
Though Hicks has largely struggled as a left-handed batter to begin the season, the switch hitter came up with a big hit from the left side to put the Yankees on the board first. With one out in the third inning, Hicks worked a full count before lining a single to right-center field to score Gardner from second for the 1-0 lead.
The RBI single was the latest sign of Hicks beginning to turn it around, now 10-for-27 with five walks over his last nine games.
Gleyber Torres crushed his first home run of the year in the bottom of the sixth inning, a no-doubter to left field. The solo shot came in his 119th at-bat of the season, putting the Yankees up 2-0.
German, meanwhile, worked around a single base runner in each of his first four innings until he retired the Nationals in order in the fifth and sixth innings.