Sergio Mitre’s final line tonight was not too flattering: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Yet through the first five innings he was able to scatter the hits and limit the damage. In fact, after Brian Roberts led off the game with a double, Mitre allowed no extra base hits. He did allow three hits in the sixth, though, which plated two Baltimore runs and ultimately chased him from the game. The Yanks had already scored six by that point, and the bullpen held the Orioles in check as the Yanks took their fifth straight contest, 6-4.
The early scoring matched that of Monday’s contest. In the first Nick Markakis singled in Roberts, who had advanced to third on an Adam Jones ground out. The Yankees went down quietly in the first, but manufactured a run in the second on a walk, stolen base, and a pair of sac flies. Unlike Monday, that score didn’t remain until the bottom of the ninth. In fact, the Orioles picked up a run in the second. They would not hold it for long.
Through two Rich Hill didn’t look that bad. He didn’t have any strikeouts, but he also had only that one walk to Alex Rodriguez. The third would be his undoing, and it all started with a walk to Cody Ransom. That led to a bases loaded, two outs situation for Alex Rodriguez, who came through big time with a single to left. That plated two, giving the Yankees the lead back. They would not squander it.
Robinson Cano tacked on two with a homer in the fourth inning, putting the Yankees ahead 5-2. Johnny Damon would make it 6-2 later that inning. Mitre owes them a beer. If not for their tack-on runs, the sixth inning could have been a bit uglier. But the big lead allowed the Yanks to stave off the rallying Orioles, holding them to just two runs. It would be enough for the bullpen.
Other than Markakis’s single off Phil Coke to lead off the eighth, the bullpen was perfect. Even with the single they doubled Markakis off, so the bullpen faced the minimum number of hitters. Mo capped it off with his 27th save of the season, and the Yankees, with the help of the Texas Rangers, pulled into sole possession of first place.
They’ll have to defend their spot soon enough. It’s a day game, A.J. Burnett vs. rookie Jason Berken. Then Oakland comes to town. On a parting note, the Yanks are lined up well right now. They have four against Oakland, followed by three in Tampa and then three in Chicago. Mitre misses the beast of Tampa, as does Pettitte. Nothing better than throwing your best at the team creeping up behind you.