The Yankees have a great offense that can’t hit good pitching … except for when they hang five runs on Justin Verlander in six innings. I think that’s how the narrative goes. Anyway, let’s recap Friday night’s walk-off win with bullet points…
- Off The Hook: Ivan Nova‘s undefeated streak remains intact — I think it’s up to 20 starts now — though he didn’t pitch all that well. The Tigers ground balled him to death in the third before putting together some very hard-hit balls in the sixth. Raul Ibanez‘s defense didn’t help, though Nova did allow the leadoff man to reach base in five of his six innings. Shake it off and do a better job five days from now.
- Long Ball: Verlander hadn’t allowed a single homerun this season until running into the Yankees, who took him deep twice. Alex Rodriguez connected a legit solo shot to right in the fourth, and one inning later Russell Martin hit a two-run shot the other way. Martin’s was a total Yankee Stadium cheapie, but I’ll take it.
- Strong Relief: Other than Boone Logan, who didn’t retire either of two left-handers he faced but did get an out on the bases, the relievers once again slammed the door shut. Cory Wade got four outs, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera three each. Rafael Soriano threw about five innings in a simulated game in the bullpen based on how many times he warmed up.
- Winning Rally: Once again, it was the Captain who set the stage. Derek Jeter‘s 15-game hit streak came to an end, but he drew a one-out walk before advancing two bases on a wild pitch. Hooray for sending the runner in a 3-2 count. With runners on corners and one out, all A-Rod had to do was hit the ball in the air. Instead, the ball went to the backstop. Catcher Alex Avila completely whiffed on a Brayan Villarreal pitch, allowing it scoot far enough away that Jeter was able to score the winning run. Just like they drew it up.
- Leftovers: I couldn’t really tell from where I sitting, but I assume Joe West had a horrible strike zone given Joe Girardi‘s ejection and all the bickering throughout the game … A-Rod had three hits and started the game-tying rally in the eighth with a single before Robinson Cano extended it with a single and Mark Teixeira capped it off with a sac fly … Nick Swisher doubled off Verlander twice, giving him nine for the season and the second most in baseball … Mo’s appearance was the 1,050th of his career, the eighth most all-time.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Game Two of this three-game set will be played Saturday afternoon at 4pm ET, though it’s not a FOX game. Freddy Garcia will look to right the ship against rookie left-hander Drew Smyly. RAB Tickets can help get you into the ballpark if you want to catch the game.