A short train ride from the glittering night lights of New York City, the Bronx had its own night-light shining over Yankee Stadium tonight. The full moon, aglow in deep orange, hung low in the sky over the ballpark. Perhaps as a reminder that 47 years ago today, man first walked on the moon. A milestone for the space program that was determined to reach a goal despite the odds. Tonight, fans at Yankee Stadium tonight saw their pinstriped team defy the odds against the AL East leader, taking charge of the mound and the field and never backing down. This was a night for New York to shine and Baltimore really never had a chance.
Yankee starting pitcher Michael Pineda threw 113 pitches over 6 full innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks, with 8 strikeouts. Faltering a bit in the fourth, Pineda loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, but managed to get out of the inning allowing no runs. Despite some threats by the Orioles batters, Pineda deftly commanded the mound and shut down any scoring opportunities for Baltimore.
Pineda was replaced by Dellin Betances in the seventh who faced three batters for a quick three outs in just 11 pitches. Nick Goody replaced Betances in the eighth, throwing just 10 pitches for another three up and three down. To close the game at the top of the ninth, Chasen Shreve calmly shut down another three batters in a row with two strikeouts and a ground out to secure another Yankee win. The Yankees seem to be experimenting with a few different pitchers to close the last few innings. Clearly, it seems to be working.
The Yankee bats had a few shining moments tonight. Gardner started it all off in the first inning with a triple to center after the ball bounced off the fielder’s glove. With Gardner on 3rd, Beltran hit a RBI sacrifice fly to center that plated Gardner, and the Yankees were the first on the board. The hopeful crowd of 35,681 was roaring in support.
A couple of quiet innings followed, and then in the fourth inning, Teixeira, just back from a few days off to rest a sore foot, slammed a homer to right to score the Yankees second run. In the sixth, Ellsbury smacked a lead off single to left followed by a bunt to 3rd by Beltran and a walk by McCann. With bases loaded and no outs, Teixeira came to the plate and RBI walks, scoring Ellsbury.
The Yankees continued to dominate the game in the seventh inning when Torreyes (in for Headley tonight) smacked a triple on a line drive to right field. Gardner then hit an RBI sacrifice fly to score Torreyes, and the Yankees are up by 4 over the scoreless Orioles.
In the eighth, a pitching change proved beneficial to New York as Beltran hit a solo homer to right field and into the second deck and the waiting glove of a fan in a Beltran jersey. This dinger marks Beltran’s 412th career home run and 20th homer for this season. With three quick outs in the top of the ninth by Shreve, the Yankees shut out the Orioles and won their fourth game in a row.
Final score: 5-0, Yankees
Welcome Back, Tex: Despite his recent hitting slump, Teixeira is back in the lineup and breaking said slump apparently. Refsnyder, who took Tex’s spot at first in the last couple games, is to be applauded for his utility work in both the infield and the outfield, plus several good at-bats. Teixeira has emphasized he just wants to stay healthy til the end of the season, and he knows part of that is improving his at-bats, which showed in his time at the plate tonight.
Doing the lineup shuffle: Headley was not in the lineup tonight, being excused for personal reasons and replaced at third base by Ronald Torreyes. Headley’s absence had the team scrambling some to readjust the lineup. Hicks was put in Headley’s batting slot (#8) and Torreyes batted ninth. Hope to see Headley back in his corner on the field soon.
Welcome to the neighborhood: In 2017, Yankee Stadium will have a new neighbor when the Roberto Clemente Urban Youth Academy will be built in the Bronx. The facility will feature new baseball and softball fields, complete with all instructors, fees, and equipment for free to the kids of the local community. Harlem RBI, the MLB Players Association, and the State of New York, with support from Commissioner Rob Manfred and Yankees veteran Alex Rodriguez, are joining forces to create a safe and encouraging environment for young athletes. Rodriguez, in particular, got his start playing ball at a Boys and Girls Club in Miami and emphasized the importance of community programs that allows kids the chance to dream big and to develop positive life skills.