The Yankees continue their time in the Midwest with the middle game of this mid-week series against the Royals. Whenever the Yankees play in Kansas City, the one thing that is a must-do is have BBQ, proper KC-style (read: really good sauce) BBQ. And with that comes the obligatory BBQ Wars. I’ve spent time in Kansas City, and every person has their specific restaurant that they claim has “the best BBQ in town”. (It’s Jack Stack, by the way. No contest.)
Anyway, the Yankees sent Michael Pineda to the mound to start tonight’s game. Pineda had a few issues during his tenure, but actually came out pretty good in the scheme of things, mainly because the Royals’ pitchers were so much worse. Pineda threw 98 pitches into the 7th innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs (only 3 earned), and struck out 5 Royals’ batters.
In the 4th, with 2 outs and a runner on 1st, a big 2-run home run up the middle got the Royals on the board. A solo home run in the 5th added one more. And in the 7th, Pineda gave up a single before a batter made it to 1st on a fielding error, putting runners on the corners and ending Pineda’s night.
Layne got the next batter to hit into a fly out, and Warren’s first batter’s sacrifice fly scored the 4th run (charged to Pineda) before getting out of the 7th inning. Warren pitched swiftly and flawlessly through the 8th inning.
Giovanni Gallegos, however, broke the streak and got into some real trouble in the 9th inning. He gave up a lead-off single before getting his 2 outs. Then 2 more singles loaded the bases. And one more single scored 2 final runs for the Royals. Dellin Betances came on for the final out and his first save of the season, having taken over for the injured Chapman.
Like I said, as the bookends of this game were a struggle for the Yankees’ pitching, the Royals’ pitching was just messy. The starter only making it through 4 innings and throwing 91 pitches. Gardner led-off the game with a single and then scored on Starlin Castro’s 2-out double.
In the 4th, with 2 outs and 2 runners on base, Didi Gregorius singles home lead-runner Castro. And then Aaron Hicks hit a strong 3-run home run into the left field seats to ease the Yankees safely into the lead. Carter then singled and scored on Brett Gardner’s triple.
The first reliever didn’t have much luck either in the 5th inning and clearly had the messiest inning. Castro singled, Judge walked (his 2nd walk of the game), Chase Headley’s single scored Castro, and Gregorius’ single scored Judge. After Hicks’ walk loaded the bases, the Royals’ defense started remembering how to make outs. Chris Carter hit into a fielder’s choice at 2nd (really a failed double play attempt), but still scored Headley. Gardner’s sacrifice fly scored Gregorius, moving Carter to 2nd. Then Gary Sanchez hit a nice single and Carter rounded 3rd to try to score. At first, it was called safe, but after a Kansas City challenge, they overturned it and Carter was barely out at home to end the Yankees’ rally.
The Yankees still threatened in the 6th, but didn’t add to their double-digit score, or with a new reliever in the 7th. It would be the 8th that would give them one more opportunity. The bases were loaded with 2 singles and a walk and 1 out. Headley ground into a force out at 2nd (another failed double play attempt) to score Sanchez to get that one more run in the game. The Royals’ closer threw just 6 pitches in the 9th inning to breeze through the Yankees.
But despite the Royals’ attempt at a rally in the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees had too much of a lead for them to overcome.
Final score: 11-7 Yankees
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