Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Through the rain, more injuries, and playing .500 ball through the first month of the season, and a Jose Trevino walk-off, the Yankees finally won a series again.

Wednesday’s 4-3 extra-innings win over the Guardians didn’t come easy. Harrison Bader, fresh off the injured list, exited the game after a scary outfield collision and is thankfully “fine”, per manager Aaron Boone. Oswald Peraza rolled his ankle pinch-running and also had to leave.. Aaron Judge being on the injured list with a sore hip only adds to the injury adversity.

And yet, the Yankees overcame it all and won the series. Even better, they competed. Remember that New York held the lead Monday before Aaron Boone made the wrong call, then won the next two with the reserves, including Jake Bauers! Next come the first-place Tampa Bay Rays and a chance to gain some ground in the AL East.

Some takeaways:

Calling Calhoun. Willie Calhoun is finally making an impact in the Yankees lineup, just as we predicted he might back in the offseason. The former top prospect had two home runs in the series, including the go-ahead blast on Tuesday. Calhoun is also batting .346 since April 25.

But best of all is that Calhoun is accomplishing this with simple contact hitting. He’s moved past trying to power the ball over a shift and is focused on bat-to-ball hitting. On top of his home run to right field on Wednesday, Calhoun lined a single to left in the ninth inning to tie the game.

Whole-field hitting is unorthodox by today’s standards, but it’s what won the Yankees the series. With Calhoun leading the way, this is how New York wins games while Judge and Giancarlo Stanton recover.

Clarke Schmidt keeps improving. Schmidt clearly heard that Luis Severino is expected back soon. He gave up two unearned runs in 4.1 innings. In fact, Schmidt hasn’t allowed any earned runs in two of his last three starts and owns a straight 3.00 ERA over that stretch.

That isn’t to say the young right-hander is out of the woods yet. Left-handed hitters were batting .396 against Schmidt heading into Wednesday’s game. Five of the six hits he allowed in the contest came from lefties.

But just the same, Schmidt’s strategy of two-seamers, sweepers and knuckle-curves worked. He’ll need to keep that up if he wants to stay in the rotation.

Can Clay still play? Just when we thought the bullpen issues were solved, Clay Holmes’ streaky nature has returned. Aroldis Chapman’s All-Star successor’s struggles continued in this series. Holmes did not have his sinker working and blew the lead Monday, and gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth on Wednesday.

And in Holmes’ defense, his pitches looked sharper on Wednesday. He just gave up back-to-back cheap hits on weak contact and that just happens with pitchers who throw sinkers.

But until all of Holmes’ stuff is working, maybe high-leverage situations in low-scoring games aren’t the best place for him. Especially with the lineup already struggling to score runs.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.