Every single run scored tonight was off a home run. The pitching statistics for both sides were rather similar. And it was a bit of back-and-forth.
Michael Pineda started tonight’s opening game against the Mariners and actually kept in control of the game for most of it with a couple of minor exceptions. He threw just 83 pitches into the 6th inning, gave up 7 hits and 2 walks, charged with 5 runs, and struck out 6 Seattle batters.
In the 4th, a double and single put runners on the corners, and then the Yankees’ defense kicked in. The next batter hit the ball up the 3rd base line where Headley threw it down to get the runner out at home. But then Sanchez dropped the ball, so the runner thought he could make it back to 3rd only to be met by a waiting Gregorius to help cover and tag him out. The remaining runners were safe at 1st and 2nd. Which was highly inconvenient as the next batter hit a big 3-run home run straight up the middle to give the Mariners the lead.
In the 6th, a single and a 1-out walk called the end of Pineda’s evening and made him responsible for those runners. Tommy Layne quickly got the 2nd out, but Anthony Swarzak had a tougher time getting that 3rd out, instead allowing another 3-run home run to give the Mariners the lead that would sail them to victory. (Had to do the nautical pun somewhere!) Kirby Yates had better luck in his 4 outs, but still managed to add an insurance run to the Mariners’ score with a 1-out solo shot in the 8th inning.
But it wasn’t like the Yankees’ batters were resting on their laurels tonight. Gary Sanchez started things off tonight with a 2-out solo home run in the 1st inning. Then Starlin Castro added to that with a lead-off solo homer in the 2nd.
Down 3-2 in the 6th, the Yankees came back with those same 2 power-hitters. Ellsbury got on base with a 1-out single and then scored as part of Sanchez’s 2nd home run of the game to give the Yankees the lead. Then Castro added to that with a solo shot up the middle.
Still, it wasn’t enough when the Mariners came back to grab the lead in the bottom of that inning and then add to it in the 8th.
Final score: 7-5 Seattle.
Okay, I have to continue to talk about Gary Sanchez. Because he’s being Gary Sanchez and leading the “Baby Bombers” with absolutely amazing talent. Not only is he just racking up the hits and home runs, as he did in tonight’s game (going 3-for-4, with 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs), but he’s also really good on the defense. He’s thrown out 5 of the 7 runners trying to steal a base, including one tonight to end the 7th inning. He even takes foul balls off his hand and stays in the game. (Note there: put your hand away or you’ll break it like Cervelli did a few years ago.) Sanchez is something to watch and anticipate for the rest of the season.
And not to be outdone, some of the veterans also showed off their awesome defensive skills tonight. Like Ellsbury jumping that back wall to grab an out. Or Headley’s instinct that got that nifty play at home in the 4th to save a run we discussed above. And that instinct actually started at the top of the game with a great double play in the 1st.
Because it is about the whole team after all…