Rivalry games are always something to watch. They’re never not interesting in some way. And this weekend, we’ve had three completely different kinds of rivalry games — the never-ending nail-biter, the exhausted players, and the batting practice. Fortunately for the Yankees, the BP game tonight ended up in their favor, and part of that was because their starting pitcher was on top of his game.
Masahiro Tanaka, ready to redeem himself after the messy Opening Day, really threw a pretty spectacular outing tonight. Overall throwing 97 pitches in his 5 innings, giving up 4 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), and 3 walks, striking out 4 Boston batters. It was the 4th inning that became the sticky situation for Tanaka. The lead-off batter had a checked swing called a ball and ended up walking, then stealing both 2nd and 3rd on wild pitches, and finally scoring a sacrifice fly. A single, a walk, and a force attempt and error loaded the bases so that a double scored 2 more runs. And a solo home run in the 5th gave the Red Sox their 4th and final run of the game.
Relievers David Carpenter and Kyle Davies (more on him below) came on to keep the Red Sox at 4 runs, splitting the rest of the game between them. They were quite successful, getting out of any sticky situations with some well-placed pitches.
Now, this might be some trouble if the Yankees weren’t hitting. But ’twas not the story tonight. After what I’m assuming is quite a bit of rest from the last two games, the Yankees showed up to play, and play they did, clearly out-playing the Red Sox in every area — pitching, batting, baserunning, and most definitely defense.
It all started in the 1st inning. Ellsbury led off with a walk and ended up at 3rd on Gardner’s single. Beltran’s force out on Gardner at 2nd scored Ellsbury. Teixeira walked and McCann reached safely on a force attempt and fielding error to load the bases. All three runners then scored on Alex Rodriguez’s double. And with just 1 out, Chase Headley smacked a long 2-run home run into his favorite spot (the right field’s 2nd deck) just before Stephen Drew hit his own addition — a solo home run. At the end of the 1st inning, it’s 7-0 Yankees.
They came back in the bottom of the 4th, with the score 7-3 Yankees. Gregorius and Ellsbury in scoring position each with a single (and a stolen base), they both scored on Brett Gardner’s single, Gardner at 2nd on the throw. Beltran’s single put runners on the corners, so Gardner easily scored on Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly. This forced a pitching change, ending the agony that was the Boston’s starter’s painful outing.
But they’re not done yet. In the 6th, the score 10-4 Yankees, Beltran, Teixeira, and McCann each singled to load the bases, so that Rodriguez’s walk ended up walking in Beltran. Headley’s single kept the bases loaded, scoring Teixeira. Drew’s sacrifice fly scored McCann. 13-4 Yankees.
And into the bottom of the 8th — because why not tonight? — and it’s Brian McCann to tack his own mark onto the scoreboard with a lead-off solo home run to make it a perfect 10-run lead for the Yankees. It was also McCann’s 200th career home run.
Final score: 14-4 Yankees. A very big win, a very much-needed win for everyone in the Bronx.
Prior to the game, the Yankees designated recent signee (and reliever yesterday) Matt Tracy for assignment, selected pitcher Kyle Davies for the 25-man roster from AAA Scranton, and put him in the game tonight. Davies, a veteran pitcher, pitched for the first time in the major leagues since 2011 mainly due to shoulder surgery. Fun random fact: Davies, while with the Royals, gave up Alex Rodriguez’s 500th home run in 2007.
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday night. Never a bad thing to beat the Red Sox. Honestly, it was the most interesting rivalry game since the famous 15-9 game back in 2012 — the Red Sox gave up a 9-0 lead and lost the game (Teixeira got 2 home runs and Swisher a grand slam to help them win that game). It was amazing. This was right up there with that for me.
Okay, time to keep that momentum rolling…