Game 111: CLE vs. NYY — A busy Sunday, another one bites the dust, & a milestone

Another pinstripe legend from the 2009 team is hanging up their cleats and a former Yankee favorite hits a major milestone… but more on that after the game recap.

Today, the Yankees sent Masahiro Tanaka to the mound for the weekend finale against the Indians. Tanaka kept things very well under control for almost his entire outing. He threw 101 pitches into the 7th inning, gave up 6 hits, no walks, and a season-high 8 strike outs (including his 400th career strikeout). Through 6 innings, he kept the Indians scoreless. But a lead-off double spelled the end of Tanaka’s afternoon.

Adam Warren came on for Tanaka. A fly out moved the runner to 3rd before a single easily scored the runner. It took some finagling, but Warren eventually found his way out of trouble. Tyler Clippard came on for the 8th inning, and things got interesting. He struck out his first batter who then got tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes with the umpire. Then a walk ended up all the way at 3rd after a throwing error as he stole 2nd.

And it was onto Dellin Betances. A walk added a runner on the corners, and a wild pitch scored the runner from 3rd before Betances got the strikeout to close out the 8th. He eased his way through the 9th, starting with a challenged but successful double play, before shutting the Indians down effectively and earning his 2nd save of the season.

The Yankees, perhaps spurred on once again with a departure announcement, were anything but silent at the batter’s box. Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the 1st with a beautiful triple, sliding just under the 3rd baseman’s legs. He then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s sacrifice fly. In the 4th, Didi Gregorius celebrated his bobblehead day (today’s giveaway at the stadium) with a 1-out solo home run to the right field seats. And in the 5th, Ellsbury worked a 2-out walk and then scored on Mark Teixeira’s double.

The Indians starter and reliever actually did a really good job. Together, they racked up 12 strikeouts, allowing only 5 hits and 2 walks. Comparatively, the Yankees’ pitching staff matched the 12 strikeouts, but gave up 8 hits and 3 walks.

Final score: 3-2 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.

Okay, so Alex Rodriguez will play his final game as a Yankee on Friday, August 12 against the Rays. After the game, he will be unconditionally released by the Yankees and signed to a special contract where he will become the Yankees special adviser, reporting directly to owner Hal Steinbrenner, and an instructor. Rodriguez has been known around baseball for years now for his teaching ability, instinct on player development, and general love for the game. While not clearly set yet, his focus will probably be on Spring Training and player development as part of the system with the Tampa High-A team.

Best of luck to him, and I look forward to the last 4 games featuring Alex Rodriguez.

{Media links: YES Network reports on what CC Sabathia said about Alex Rodriguez, YES Network broadcasters discuss Rodriguez and his career, and the full press conference here.}

{Blog post note: a special feature on Alex Rodriguez will come on one of the other off-days this month.}

And while I was writing this blog post, I got word that a very special, fan favorite former Yankee (now with the Marlins) Ichiro Suzuki just hit his 3,000th hit with MLB on a stand-up triple in the 7th inning against the Rockies. Ichiro is the first Japanese player to reach 3,000 hits and is the 2nd player to reach this milestone on a triple. (Paul Molitor did so September 16, 1996.)

Now, technically, Ichiro has 4,278 career hits when you factor in his professional career in Japan, but MLB records only count hits made during the regular season and as part of one of the recognized MLB clubs. And if you’re keeping track at home, Pete Rose currently holds the MLB record at 4,256 career hits. So if you’re giving this record to Ichiro in your mind, you’re certainly not alone in that line of thought over here. Congrats on the milestone!

Go Yankees!

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