PITTSBURGH — The Yankees’ late-season upswing is going so swimmingly that they can start a pitcher they claimed off the scrap heap earlier this week and still pick up another win.
It is almost certainly too late to matter, but the Yankees won for the 14th time in their last 19 games, toppling the Pirates 6-3 on Saturday night at PNC Park.
While dreamers may be crunching the numbers for how the Yankees (76-73) might still be able to sneak into the playoffs — they moved within six games of the final AL wild-card spot, pending the Mariners’ late game against the Dodgers, with 13 games left — it is likely they dug themselves too big of a hole to climb out of at this point.
In the meantime, they have now won five of their last six series, doing so this time by beating up on the Pirates (69-80) and their erratic pitching staff.
The Yankees drew three walks in the first inning alone, two of which came around to score on Austin Wells’ RBI double — his first extra-base hit since Sept. 3 — and Estevan Florial’s two-run single off right-hander Luis Ortiz.
Oswaldo Cabrera celebrates after belting a solo home run in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Pirates.Getty Images
Austin Wells, who hit an RBI double earlier in the first inning, scores on a two-run single by Estevan Florial during the Yankees’ win.Getty Images
Giancarlo Stanton and Oswaldo Cabrera added solo home runs later in the game to pad the Yankees’ lead.
It was enough offensive support on a day when Luke Weaver — who was claimed off waivers from the Mariners on Tuesday — gave up three runs and struck out seven across four innings in a spot start.
Giancarlo Stanton celebrates with teammates in the dugout after belting a solo homer in the third inning of the Yankees’ win.Getty Images
Aaron Judge scores on a wild pitch during the sixth inning of the Yankees’ win.Getty Images
In relief of Weaver, Jhony Brito threw three perfect innings in another solid appearance out of the bullpen.
Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes added a perfect inning each as the Yankees set down the final 21 Pirates in order.