ST. LOUIS — Jordan Montgomery never imagined this. Sure, he’d face the Yankees sluggers in spring training or in live batting practices, but the lefthander never actually thought about what it would be like to face the Yankees lineup.
“I used to think I would be a Yankee lifer,” Montgomery said Friday, three days after the Bombers traded him to the Cardinals and on the eve of having to face his former teammates.
Saturday night, Montgomery turned the page on the Yankees by pitching five scoreless inning against them as the Cardinals shut out the Yankees 1-0 in front of 48,581, the largest crowd ever at Busch Stadium.
The Yankees (70-38) have lost four straight and dropped back-to-back series for the first time this season. It was the seven series loss overall this season and with the Astros losing earlier in the day to the Guardians, the Bombers still hold the best reecord in the American league — but just barely. They remain atop the AL East, but the Blue Jays are starting to close the gap.
It was just the seventh time this season the Yankees have been shut out. The last was July 3 in Cleveland. It was just the fifth time this season they lost when holding the opponent to two runs or less.
In an awkward first inning, Montgomery gave up a one-out single to Aaron Judge and then walked Josh Donaldson. He found out just how good the defense behind him is when Nolan Arenado made a terrific stop on Gleyber Torres’ ground out to start an inning-ending double play.
From there all former allegiances seemed to be behind him. He gave up a single to Kyle Higashioka and that was it the rest of the night.
“He’d been a rock for us. YThe last few seasons since he had the Tommy John surgery in 2018 and did a good job coming back and 20 had a good outing in the postseason. For us and 20. It really had a really strong year for us. Last year was consistent and reliable. And he’s continued to build on that this year,” Boone said of Montgomery. “He’s a really good pitcher. Takes a lot of pride in what he does and takes a lot of pride in taking the ball but he’d been really solid for us my entire time here before the injury and post injury and he’s gotten a little bit better and better.”
He was good enough, before being removed for cramping on the hot and humid night, to continue to fluster the Yankees offense. After going 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Friday, they didn’t get that many opportunities against Montgomery or the Cardinals bullpen. In another twist of irony it was Giovanny Gallegos, the right-hander the Yankees sent to St. Louis as part of the deal for Luke Voit in 2018, who slammed the door on them in the ninth.
Only Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka managed to get hits on Saturday for the Bombers, who were homerless for the second straight game and just the second time in 21 games. Both were singles.
Domingo German is pitching for his place on this team. With the addition of Frankie Montas and, when Luis Severino gets back from the injured list, his spot in the rotation will likely be gone. He needs to show he can be effective for them to think about putting him in the bullpen.
The 30-year-old made a decent case.
He gave the Yankees five innings, holding the Cardinals to a run on four hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three.
The right-hander gave up a two-out double to Paul Goldschmidt and an RBI single to Nolan Arenado in the first inning. He got some help with a tremendous throw by Tim Locastro on Goldschmidt’s second double of the night, helping get Nolan Gorman at the plate to prevent a run.
Ron Marinaccio gave the Yankees 0.2 scoreless and Lou Trivino 1.1 without giving up a run. Aroldis Chapman worked around a walk to get through the eighth inning.