Clay Holmes blows another save to sink Yankees in loss to Cardinals

The trade deadline has passed, but the Yankees may need a new closer. 

For a second straight appearance, Clay Holmes allowed multiple runs and blew a save. 

After blowing the game Sunday against the Royals, Holmes was called upon for a potential six-out save on Friday against the Cardinals in St. Louis and blew it again in a 4-3 loss at a sold out Busch Stadium. 

Holmes started the eighth inning, with the Yankees leading 3-2, and gave up a soft infield hit to Nolan Arenado with one out. He then walked Tyler O’Neill with two out before Paul DeJong smacked a two-run double. 

It didn’t help that the Yankees, who had 10 hits on the night, scored just three runs — and none after the fifth inning, as they lost their third straight and fourth in their last five. 

Not even Matt Carpenter could save the day in his return to St. Louis, as he grounded out to end the game with the tying run on first. 

Clay Holmes reacts after giving up a two-run double in the eighth inning.

Nestor Cortes pitched well, but was not as sharp as usual, tying a season high with four walks in just 5 ¹/₃ innings. 

The Yankees took the lead in the top of the first after DJ LeMahieu led off the game with a walk. Aaron Judge flied out, but LeMahieu moved to third on a Carpenter single. 

With runners on the corners, Gleyber Torres whiffed for the second out, but Josh Donaldson drilled an RBI double to right-center, scoring LeMahieu and sending Carpenter to third. 

Andrew Benintendi grounded out to end the inning. 

Nestor Cortes pitches on Friday during the Yankees' loss to the  Cardinals.
Nestor Cortes pitches on Friday during the Yankees’ loss to the Cardinals.

The Cardinals tied the score in the bottom of the second thanks to a pair of walks by Cortes and a two-out, run-scoring single by Yadier Molina. 

Donaldson came up with his second RBI hit of the night in the third, singling after Judge and Carpenter led off with singles against Dakota Hudson. 

Torres delivered in the fifth. After Judge singled and stole second, he moved to third on a Carpenter groundout after Hudson was replaced by Andre Pallante. 

Torres then reached on an infield hit that scored Judge to make it 3-1. 

Cortes, who’d allowed just three runs in 18 innings over his previous three starts, settled into a groove after Molina’s RBI single, retiring nine straight until a walk in the fifth. 

“I had a ton of confidence in [Cortes] the whole way, even when he had a couple of down outings,’’ manager Aaron Boone said before the game. “I think he’s been remarkably consistent for us ever since he joined the rotation last year.” 

Matt Carpenter salutes the Cardinals fans during his return to St. Louis.
Matt Carpenter salutes the Cardinals fans during his return to St. Louis.
Tyler O'Neill (27) and Nolan Arenado (28) celebrate after scoring in the eighth inning.
Tyler O’Neill (27) and Nolan Arenado (28) celebrate after scoring in the eighth inning.

But a loss of command did Cortes in. His fourth walk of the game, to Paul Goldschmidt, ended Cortes’ night with one out in the bottom of the sixth. 

A wild pitch by Albert Abreu, who took over for Cortes, sent Goldschmidt to second. 

A single by Arenado put runners on the corners before Abreu struck out Nolan Gorman, pinch-hitting for Albert Pujols, for the second out. 

But Abreu faltered and allowed a hit to O’Neill to make it 3-2, as Cortes ended up being charged with two runs. 

Tyler O'Neill rounds first on his RBI single in the sixth inning.
Tyler O’Neill rounds first on his RBI single in the sixth inning.

Scott Effross, acquired from the Cubs on Monday, entered and struck out DeJong to preserve the one-run lead. Effross walked Molina to start the bottom of the seventh, but pitched around it. 

Pallante, meanwhile, took over for Hudson and tossed four scoreless innings. 

Ryan Hesley took over in the ninth and walked LeMahieu with one out. Tim Locastro pinch ran for LeMahieu and Judge popped out before Carpenter grounded out, as the Yankees fell to 70-37.