The Yankees are on their way to the West Coast tonight for a week of West Coast games. And what a better way to send them off that on a winning streak — a sweep of the Kansas City Royals.
Michael Pineda on the mound for the start today, throwing 106 pitches through 6.2 innings, giving up just 1 hit (a solo home run) and 1 walk, and striking out 8 batters. That lone hit/run was a solo shot right in the 1st inning, but it kind of spurred him on to buckle down and pitch a really wicked game.
In the 7th inning, after his 2 last strikeouts, the Yankees went to their bullpen to David Carpenter. Carpenter gave up a single, and they went to the trusty Justin Wilson. 4 pitches and a fly out later, it was the 7th inning stretch.
Now, in the mean time, the Yankees were hitting once again. Brian McCann led off the 2nd inning with a solo home run into the 2nd deck right field seats just inside the foul pole over there to tie up the game. It didn’t stay tied long. In the 3rd, Gardner doubled and Headley walked before both scored on Alex Rodriguez’s 3-run home run into the left field seats. That shot pushed Rodriguez past Ruth and Gehrig for 3rd place on the list for all-time RBIs, now at 1.995.
Okay, so it was 4-1 when the Dynamic Duo were summoned to the mound. Dellin Betances’ 8th got off to a rough start — a lead-off walk, a strike out, a stolen base, and an RBI single, though scored with an error (usually those two don’t coexist in the same play). This somehow resulted in that run scored as an unearned run, keeping Betances’ ERA firmly at 0.00. But all of Betances’ outs that inning were called strikeouts.
But it was truly Andrew Miller’s 9th that was spectacular. Miller needed just 7 pitches to get 3 Kansas City batters out and close out the game, his 14th save.
Oh, and can I just brag on Chase Headley for a second? I know he’s had a nasty year when it comes to fielding/throwing errors (10 total so far), but what makes that so weird is that he’s usually really, really good defensively. Like today, he had two ridiculous plays right in the 1st inning — a first pitch grab on a short grounder to start the game and a diving stop to end the inning.
Final score in the Bronx: 4-2 Yankees, Yankees sweep the Royals 3-0.
Fun fact from this series: the Yankees firmly outscored the Royals 23-4. And this sweep resulted in the Yankees being back in 1st place in the AL East, 1.5 games over the Rays. They are still further behind on the greater standings than the other divisions (especially the red-hot central division), but division leaders nonetheless.
With that in mind, it’s time for a West Coast winning streak from the Bronx Bombers. Somehow, I think we can safely return to using that moniker once again after this series.