NEW YORK (AP)
After Anthony Volpe and Aaron Judge hit into double plays in the eighth and ninth, the Yankees got their fifth walk-off win when Kiner-Falefa sent Nick Martinez’s 2-0 pitch down the line just past the glove of third baseman Rougned Odor to score Greg Allen.
“I was just trying to see if he was gonna come after me,” Kiner-Falefa said. “He threw two balls out of the zone and I was just looking for something. I thought he was going to throw something elevated and I was going to be able hit a pop fly to left field right there, but I was a little bit out front and I was able to hook it in the line.”
It was Kiner-Falefa’s third career walk-off hit and first since joining the Yankees to play shortstop last season. This time, he got the hit while continuing to play as an outfielder for the first time in his career.
“Whatever role it’s been in, he’s worked his tail off to acclimate himself to it and be ready for it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And now he’s gotten some more starts lately. You get him in matchups where you feel like he can be really successful and he’s done a really nice job here for us.”
After getting the hit, Kiner-Falefa was doused with a water bath by Judge and Anthony Rizzo while conducting his postgame interview by the New York dugout.
“What a gamer, he’s played multiple positions now, hasn’t complained once,” New York's DJ LeMahieu said of Kiner-Falefa. “Wants to be out there. Great hit today. It was one of those at-bats you knew he was going to get a hit.”
LeMahieu, who had an RBI double in the first, homered off Padres starter Michael Wacha to tie it in the seventh as the Yankees avoided a fourth straight loss. It was LeMahieu’s 11th career homer that either tied a game or gave his team the lead in the seventh or beyond.
Fernando Tatis Jr. homered for the second straight game, and ninth time this season, for San Diego’s only hit in Luis Severino’s 6 2/3 innings. Ha-Seong Kim hit an RBI single in the seventh off Michael King.
The Padres were held to three hits, went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and were unable to win three straight for the first time since April 29-May 1.
“You knew it was going to come down to one play at the end,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “We got a guy with a good ground ball rate up there. He hits a ground ball, it finds the line.”
Severino allowed two runs, one earned, in his second start since returning from a strained right lat.
Clay Holmes (3-2), who came on in the top of the 10th, retired Tatis on a soft grounder that was initially ruled an infield hit before being overturned on replay to end the inning.
Wacha allowed two runs and five hits before turning the game over to Martinez (2-2) for the final 2 1/3 innings.
“We’re in a tie game like that, at that point I think he’s our best option,” Melvin said of using Martinez in the 10th.
After Severino retired the first 10 hitters, Tatis blasted an 0-1 slider off the back of the San Diego bullpen. He admired the 426-foot shot, did a hop and stutter step at third and clapped his hands upon crossing the plate before doing a handshake with Juan Soto near the on-deck circle.
Rookie SS Anthony Volpe batted ninth for the first time since April 15 and went 0 for 3. Volpe is hitting .197 and is 5 for 38 (.132) over his last 12 games.
Padres: SS Xander Bogaerts, who is dealing with wrist soreness, was given the day off before batting in the ninth. Melvin said he expects Bogaerts will play Sunday … RHP Luis García (strained left oblique) was placed on the injured list and RHP Domingo Tapia was recalled from Triple-A El Paso.
Yankees: RHP Matt Krook was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole (5-0, 2.53 ERA), who is winless in his last five starts, opposes San Diego RHP Yu Darvish (3-3, 3.67) Sunday.
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