How clutch are the Yankees? Short-sighted people said that this afternoon’s game was a “must win,” and the Yanks delivered. Powered by 13 base hits, including three home runs, they rolled over the Orioles for their first victory of the season. A.J. Burnett had a successful debut in pinstripes, going five and a third to pick up the W. The bullpen went the rest of the way without allowing a baserunner.
A.J. looked absolutely filthy in the first two innings. His fastball ran in the mid 90s, and his breaking stuff was on for the most part. He ran into a little trouble with control in the third, and was a little shaky in the fourth, but managed an easy fifth before hitting 100 pitches with one out in the sixth. The Yanks were up 7-2 at that point, and A.J.’s victory was all but assured.
Nick Swisher, 1 for 1 with a double and a walk heading into the game, took advantage of his opportunity today, going 3 for 5 with a go-ahead homer and a double. It looked like Nick Markakis had a chance to catch the homer, but a fan ended up snagging it once it was out of play. He seemed proud. I’m guessing he was a Yanks fan.
Robinson Cano continued his impressive start with a 3 for 4 performance of his own, including a walk and a home run. After a slow start last year Cano is proving it’s not an April thing. He’s 6 for 11 right now with a double, a homer, and three walks. Best of all, his plate appearances are a lot better than they were at the beginning of last year. He’s working deep counts in some ABs, and when he swings early in the count he’s usually making solid contact. It’s early, of course, just a three game sample, but it’s a welcome sight to see a more discerning Robinson Cano at the plate.
Not to be overshadowed by the offense and A.J., the bullpen did about as well as it could, tossing 3.2 perfect innings, including six strikeouts. Mark Teixeira had two hits, including a game-tying homer in the fourth, his first as a Yankee. Ramiro Pena picked up his first Major League hit in his first Major League at bat. Melky got…an at bat. Way to spoil the fun, Melky.
We’ll do it again tomorrow when Andy Pettitte takes the hill for his season debut in Kansas City for their home opener. Game time is 4:10, so plenty of us will hear John Sterling’s voice for the first time this year on our commute home. Joy.