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Slumping Yankees look to avoid sweep at home vs. Reds

After getting Aaron Judge on a double play to end the seventh inning and protect a one-run lead on Wednesday, Fernando Cruz described shutting down the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium as one of the best feelings in sports.

An even better feeling for the Reds would be completing a three-game sweep of the Yankees and they get the opportunity on Thursday afternoon in the series finale.

The Reds head into the series finale after hanging on for a 5-4 victory on Tuesday and a 3-2 victory Wednesday for their first series win since taking three of four at home against the Chicago Cubs June 6-9. They are attempting to sweep a series for the first time since June 3-5 at Colorado.

The Reds are in position for the sweep after Cruz entered with a runner on second in a one-run game. After walking Juan Soto, Cruz watched Judge hit into a double play started by third baseman Noelvi Marte.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Cruz said. “I never pitched in Yankee Stadium before and never being able to listen to the crowd and having the crowd active like that. Being able to shut it down, I think it dictated the end of the game obviously. It was something that was really, really special for me.”

Cruz’s escape occurred on a night when the Reds mustered three hits. Marte hit a two-run homer and Stuart Fairchild hit a solo shot.

The Yankees are attempting to avoid getting swept in a three-game series for the first time all season. They are 4-12 since their 8-1 win in Boston on June 14 pushed them 3 1/2 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the AL East lead.

Anthony Volpe snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a two-run double but the Yankees finished with five hits and Judge went 0-for-3 after opening the series with his major league-leading 32nd homer.

“It’s just baseball,” Soto said of the slide. “Things are going to happen. I think we struggled a little bit there, tried to get the clutch hit but it happens.”

Frankie Montas (3-6, 4.23 ERA), who was injured and struggled with the Yankees, is scheduled to start for the Reds on Thursday. Montas was 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts in 2022 after the Yankees acquired him from the Oakland Athletics and also learned he was pitching with a shoulder injury.

Montas made his only appearance last season by throwing 1 1/3 innings for the Yankees on Sept. 30 and joined the Reds in January on a one-year deal.

So far with the Reds, Montas is experiencing mixed results. He won his first two starts and is 1-6 with a 4.90 ERA in his past 13 starts, though he allowed one run on two hits in six innings during Cincinnati’s 1-0 loss at St. Louis on Friday.

Montas is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against the Yankees.

Marcus Stroman (7-3, 3.29) goes for the Yankees. He last pitched Friday when he allowed three runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision at Toronto.

Stroman is 4-2 with a 3.76 ERA in seven career starts against the Reds. He last faced them while playing for the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 31, when he allowed six runs on six hits in three innings of a 6-5 loss.

–Field Level Media

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