Game 94: BAL vs. NYY — Sweeping those pesky birds out of the home nest

 

It was a beautiful sunny day in New York this afternoon — 80°, blue skies with white puffy clouds, very picturesque, very perfect summer day for baseball. A very perfect day for a sweep of those pesky birds from Baltimore.

Masahiro Tanaka was in great form today as he earned his 7th win of the season — 101 pitches through his 7.2 innings, giving up just 4 hits, no walks, and 3 runs, and striking out 7 batters. His only issues were the 3 runs that were scored today, all on solo home runs in the 2nd and 2 in the 8th. After giving up that second solo shot in the 8th and hitting 101 on his pitch count, Tanaka’s day was done. But it was a really great day. After that first home run in the 2nd, he got 12 of the 13 batters he faced, and then threw a near-perfect 7th inning with 3 consecutive strikeouts.

Chris Capuano finished off the 8th inning for Tanaka with a fly out and got the first 2 outs of the 9th before handing the ball over to Branden Pinder who took 4 pitches to get a ground out to end the game. It was going to be the day off for the “Dynamic Duo” (Betances-Miller) anyway, but they certainly weren’t needed for a set-up and save situation.

No, the Yankees offense just pummeled the Orioles’ pitching staff, including roughing up their starter. In the 1st, the Yankees quickly loaded the bases with no outs on a single and two walks. Two outs later, Chase Headley hit a double bouncing off the center field wall, as the bases cleared. Ellsbury, Gardner, and Rodriguez all scored; Rodriguez tumbled home to avoid the bad throw home, as Headley ending up at 3rd on that bad throw. Headley then scored on Didi Gregorius’ single. And within that 1 inning, the Yankees were up 4-0.

When the Orioles got a run in the 2nd, the Yankees got it back with Jacoby Ellsbury’s 3rd home run of the season, a big solo shot to the right field bleachers. And in the 3rd, the Yankees kept hammering away. With 1 out and 2 runners on base with singles, Stephen Drew doubled and scored Gregorius, finally forcing a pitching change to get the starter mercifully out of the game (after 64 pitches in just 2.1 innings). The new pitcher then allowed Ellsbury to hit a sacrifice fly that scored John Ryan Murphy.

Then with another reliever in the game, Headley led-off the 5th inning with a single, moved to 2nd on Murphy’s 1-out single, and then ended up at 3rd on a fly out. Both he and Murphy scored on Ellsbury’s solid double. And that would be 9 total runs for the Yankees.

They would collectively hit 13 hits off the Orioles’ pitching staff and 3 walks. To compare, the Yankees’ pitchers gave up 4 hits and no walks. And for the Yankees, three offensive heroes today are easily Ellsbury, Headley, and Murphy. Ellsbury went 3-for-4 at the plate, with 2 runs scored and 4 RBIs; he also upped his batting average to .308, the current BA leader. Headley went 2-for-4, with 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs; Murphy went 3-for-4, with 2 runs scored.

And I can’t forget the defense recognition once again — Teixeira grabbed a foul pop up over the dugout fence, and Tanaka snagged a liner back to the mound (both plays in the 6th inning). Now, one that probably should have been caught is Gardner losing a fly ball in the sun. Fortunately, nothing came of that base runner, but as the official scorekeeper ruled it an error on Gardner, I imagine upon appeal, that will probably be overturned and ruled a hit. (Apologies for the O’s broadcast on that last one.)

{Recent update: Just after posting this, I was informed that the official scorer reevaluated this play, removing the error from Gardner and giving the batter a double. All stats will now reflect this, giving Tanaka an additional hit against him, and removing the error from the Yankees, the game, and Gardner’s own stats.}

Final score in the Bronx: 9-3 Yankees, Yankees sweep the O’s 3-0.

Not a bad way to end this home stand. The Yankees will close out July and enter August on a big road trip. They head first to the Twin Cities for the weekend, then a 4-game series down in Arlington, before heading back up to the Windy City for next weekend’s series. Yes, a big 10-game road trip basically going up and down and up the middle of the country.

Also, Hall of Fame ceremonies are scheduled for this weekend at Cooperstown, New York. The four inductees include some former opponents (and one brief Yankee) — Craig Biggio (Astros), Randy Johnson (Mariners/Diamondbacks), Pedro Martinez (Red Sox), and John Smoltz (Braves). Johnson was a Yankee for the 2005-2006 seasons; he also played for the Expos, Astros, and Giants in his 22 year career. Martinez also spent time with the Dodgers, Expos, Mets, and Phillies in his 18 years. Smoltz spent 20 years with the Braves and spent his last year split between the Red Sox and Cardinals. Biggio, the only non-pitcher inductee this year, spent all 20 years of his career in Houston, where his #7 is also retired.

Yankee fans have to wait until 2017 before the big names from the recent dynasty start appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot — Posada will be the first in 2017, with Rivera and Pettitte finding their names on the 2019 ballot and Jeter on 2020, and it’s almost guaranteed that at least 2 of those names will be added to the Hall. But we have some time to wait and see.

And in the meantime, there’s this new dynasty to jump-start and win some new championships this century!

Go Yankees!

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