It’s good to be home. After a semi-disappointing end to the road trip (after a rather positive April and beginning of the trip), the Yankees needed a good start to this short 4-game homestead against the visiting Orioles.
It was Nathan Eovaldi to start tonight’s game, and while he wasn’t up to his “Nasty Nate” status, he wasn’t really terrible. The Orioles once again pushed his pitch count up, and Eovaldi exited the game after 102 pitches and 5.2 innings, with 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts. Those runs were a 1st inning solo home run, a 3rd inning solo home run, and back-to-back doubles for the 3rd and final Orioles home run in the 5th.
Eovaldi turned over the game to lefty reliever Justin Wilson, who got out of the 6th with apparent ease and then pitched a flawless 7th inning for the Yankees.
Now, before we talk about the reliable closing team, let me talk about some Yankee offense. In the 1st inning, Ellsbury and Gardner hit back-to-back singles. And then Alex Rodriguez hit a very long, very powerful ball over the right field fence, and for all of three seconds, it was a wonderful moment; but the right fielder came back from jumping the fence with the ball, robbing Rodriguez of a perfect 3-run home run. Ellsbury would still score on the play, instead given the title of “sacrifice fly“. Teixeira’s single scored Gardner.
With the game tied 2-2 in the 3rd and 2 outs, it’s Alex Rodriguez at bat again. And to make up for the almost home run, he hit a real one — a big solo shot to the loading dock to the left of Monument Park in center field. That would be home run #661, officially putting Rodriguez in 4th place all-time over Willie Mays. Next up: Babe Ruth’s 714. The 40,000+ Yankee fans demanded a “curtain call”, which Rodriguez complied albeit slightly surprised at the cheering.
Then with the game tied up again 3-3 in the 5th, Gardner lead off the inning with double and then scored on Teixeira’s double. And that gave the Yankees the lead yet again with 4-3.
And with that lead in mind, after Wilson’s beautiful 7th inning, it was time for the Dynamic Duo. The first part, Dellin Betances, took 13 pitches and threw a great 8th inning. This included the 4th strikeout to one of the Orioles best hitters in this game alone, earning the batter the unofficial “Golden Sombrero”, a rather amusing (and rather old) nickname for a batter who hits 4 strikeouts in a game. Andrew Miller’s 18-pitch 9th inning earned him his 12th save of the season.
Final score: 4-3 Yankees. Always good news.
Injury updates: Masahiro Tanaka threw 50 pitches at 60-feet today before the game without any pain or stiffness. If he still feels good tomorrow with no slow onset pain, he will continue to throw and progress until he is ready for an official rehab start. This is considered really good news.
And for something funny: two interesting mustache related items — from MLB’s Cut 4 and from LoHudYankees. Because while I still have mixed feelings about the ‘stache, it certainly been rather an amusing side story to follow.