Another long night at the K and you can’t blame the rain on this one. For the first half of this game was dominated pretty much by the Royals, while the Yankees came roaring back to take it back and carry it into extra innings. To be perfectly fair, if the Royals were the team they were late last year, this game would’ve been over a lot sooner. But they aren’t. And the Yankees certainly aren’t the kind of team that just hands over a win when it looks bleak.
Luis Cessa got the start for the finale in Kansas City tonight, and despite the Royals’ score board total, he actually did a really good job as a starter, certainly carving his spot on the roster. He threw 91 pitches in his 6 innings, gave up just 6 hits, a walk, and 4 runs (only 3 earned), and struck out just 2.
In the 1st, with 2 outs and a runner on 1st, a 2-run home run straight up the middle got things started for the Royals. A fielding error in the 2nd allowed a batter to reach all the way to 2nd before he scored on an RBI double. And a lead-off solo shot in the 3rd capped off the Royals scoring and leapt them ahead 4-0 very early.
Then Cessa stepped it up. Starting with the final 2 outs of the 3rd, he proceeded to shut down the Royals in order through the 5th inning (8 outs). A soft single broke that streak to lead-off the 6th, but then he went and quickly got the 3 outs for the 6th to shut them down. The Royals would never get another hit tonight.
It was the 6th inning that suddenly everything snapped into place for the Yankee offense. Ellsbury led-off that inning with a single, and after Sanchez walked, a fly out put them in the corners. Didi Gregorius’ sacrifice fly easily scored Ellsbury, and Starlin Castro’s 19th home run of the season, a big 2-run homer put the Yankees within 1 run of the Royals.
In the 7th, with 1 out and Hicks at 1st with a walk, the Royals pulled their starter from the game after 99 pitches. Gardner singled and moved Hicks to 3rd, where he could score and tied up the game on Jacoby Ellsbury’s sacrifice fly. Now, all someone had to do was find a moment to break the tie.
Chasen Shreve kept the Royals scoreless through the 7th and 8th innings, and Layne and Warren split the 9th inning. Still tied game, so it was on to extra innings. Blake Parker continued to show his value throwing through the 10th and 11th innings. And Ben Heller breezed through the roster in 10 pitches in the 12th.
The Yankees offense certainly put up a bit of drama in their side of the 12th. Headley led-off with a single and then stole 2nd base. Gardner singled, and an error had both runners in scoring position. Though there were enough “message board managers” that blasted the Yankees for not sending Headley all the way home on the error. The pitcher opted to intentionally walk Ellsbury to load up the bases with just 1 out. But the hopes for something highlight reel worthy ended with a quick line out and soft ground out.
And it was onto the 13th inning. Gregorius singled and then ended up at 3rd on Castro’s double. A new pitcher didn’t help the Royals as Brian McCann’s long ball became a sacrifice fly as Gregorius hustled home. With Castro now at 3rd, the Royals intentionally walked Headley and then got 2 quick outs to end the rally.
Final score: 5-4 Yankees in 13, Yankees win series 2-1.
Also, Aaron Hicks came up limping a bit after hitting into a ground out in the 9th inning. His right hamstring tightened up on him while he was running for 1st. He’ll travel with the team to Baltimore where he’ll get some extra tests to see how long he’ll be out. But with his recent upswing in offense, both he and the Yankees are hoping with just a little rest he’ll be back and ready in no time.
Roster moves: yesterday, outfielder Ben Gamel was named the International League MVP (that’s what the Yankees’ AAA team plays in) just before he was traded today to the Mariners for a couple of young pitchers (Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula). And the Yankees also acquired veteran outfielder Eric Young Jr from the Brewers for cash considerations.
Tomorrow (or rather later today), it’s September call-up time. Which means that there’s going to be an influx of those minor league players all over the league and in the clubhouse. An interesting prospect as both the AAA Scranton and AA Trenton teams made their leagues’ post season.
So who’s on your list to fill out the 40-man roster today? And who do you think we’ll see in Baltimore this weekend? (You know those aren’t the same answers most of the time!)