To put into perspective just how well the Yankees offense was going last night: Robinson Cano got a hit with runners in scoring position. If that’s not enough for you, Frankie Cervelli hit a ball about five feet short of a home run, and then later drove one to the same spot for an RBI double. Yes, the Yankees were hitting from top to bottom, and combined with a gem from CC Sabathia it led to a 10-2 Yankees win.
The Yankees lead the league in home runs, but didn’t need any to plate 10 runs against the Twins. They accomplished it by putting men on base — all nine starters picked up at least one hit — moving them into scoring position, and knocking them in — the team went 7 for 17 with runners in scoring position. This led to runs in four different innings, including a monster five-run sixth. And they scored them in every way imaginable — sac fly, single, double, triple — really, every way but a homer (and, of course, the suicide squeeze).
Just because the Yanks didn’t hit any over the Hefty bag doesn’t mean they didn’t try. Alex Rodriguez made the first attempt in the fourth. HitTracker probably would have pegged the ball at 410 feet. With a 408-foot fence that seems plenty, but Carlos Gomez had time to position himself and timed his jump perfectly, robbing A-Rod of a grand slam. They’d pick up a run there with the sac fly, and then another after Scott Baker walked Swisher to plate a run. Hideki gave one a ride with two on and one out in the sixth, but it came up just short, and Gomez was there. Finally, in the seventh Mark Teixeira flirted with one, but it didn’t have enough height and Gomez was able to snag it on the warning track. Dude had a busy night.
Beyond hitting with runners in scoring position, another key for the Yankees’ offense last night was working the starter. Clearly, Scott Baker wasn’t on top of his game. The Yanks took advantage, forcing him to throw 86 pitches in 3+ innings. He finally came undone completely in the fourth, walking Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon on eight straight pitches. With the bases loaded, none out, and his team down only two runs, Ron Gardenhire had no choice but to replace Baker. As we all know too well, his replacement, Brian Duensing, almost let ‘em all score.
On the other side of the ball, CC was CC. While the offense rolled he kept up his end of the bargain, allowing just three hits in seven innings. Two of those were infield singles. Unfortunately the other was a solo homer. In the end it didn’t matter, though. Cuddyer’s shot was but a blip on the radar of the game. Solo homers will happen. What shouldn’t happen is walking Nick Punto on four pitches. That was infuriating for sure. Again, in the end it mattered nil.
There are few greater feelings as a baseball fan, and particularly as a baseball writer, than having little to say about a win beyond showering praise upon the good guys. CC pitched great. The whole offense hit, with runners in scoring position to boot. Carlos Gomez’s defense might have caused a few moments of anguish, but even those were light. The game was all Yankees.
Tomorrow the red hot A.J. Burnett takes on Glen Perkins, whom the Yanks bombed earlier this year. He hit the DL right afterward, and unfortunately for the Yanks has been good-to-really-good since returning in mid-June. Should be a good one in Minnesota tomorrow.