The streak is over. For the first time in nearly a full calendar year, the Yankees won a game at Tropicana Field on Wednesday. If that’s not a great way to celebrate the birth of our nation, nothing is. Let’s recap…
- Comeback: The Rays had a 3-1 lead through seven, but the Yankees put together a three-run rally in the eighth when Kyle Farnsworth walked the bases loaded before walking in New York’s second run. It’s easy to make a “that’s a Farnsworth we know!” joke, but c’mon. The Farnsworth we know would have walked two men then given up a three-run homer. Anyway, Alex Rodriguez took ball four to force in a run then one batter later Robinson Cano laced a two-strike single to center that scored both the game-tying and go-ahead run. It was a thing of beauty.
- Spot Start: David Phelps definitely had the strikeout pitch working against Tampa, whiffing eight guys through 4.1 innings of work. He also walked three and hit two batters, so let’s call it effectively wild. Phelps hit his pitch count before the end of the fifth and allowed just one run, an little flare single to right by noted Yankees killer Sean Rodriguez. He threw a first pitch strike to 14 of 19 batters faced and only six guys put the ball in play. Hopefully he can tighten up the pitch count and be more efficient in the future, assuming he gets another start with CC Sabathia due to return after the break.
- Bullpen: Boone Logan was the team’s least effective pitcher — he surrendered a two-run, go-ahead homer to Carlos Pena in the seventh — but he ended up with the win. Hooray for that. The unsung hero was Cody Eppley, who picked up two enormous strikeouts to escape a jam in the fifth before chipping in a scoreless sixth. David Robertson (one walk) and Rafael Soriano (no baserunners) worked scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Between Phelps and the various relievers, the Yankees struck out 16 Rays on Wednesday. Those last two or three innings were nail-biters, but outside of Logan the relief corps was pretty stellar.
- Leftovers: I saw my first ever umpire’s interference call in this game as Jose Lobaton hit the home plate ump with his hand as he threw down to third on A-Rod’s steal attempt, a (correct) call that looked huge when the Yankees were unable to score in that seventh inning … speaking of that inning, Alex effective stole third twice but Nick Swisher didn’t bother to steal second as the trail runner, which is doubly knuckle-headed on his part … Curtis Granderson didn’t put the ball in play once, walking twice and striking out thrice … Mark Teixeira tied the game with a solo shot in the seventh after David Price completely manhandled the Yankees for the first 6+ innings … Cano made a great lunging catch in the first that saved at least one run and most likely two, a huge and easy-to-forget moment in the game … the 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 5-for-12 with three walks while the rest of the lineup went a combined 3-for-22 with four walks … Jeter and Granderson combined to see 60 (!) pitches, or one-third of all pitches thrown by Tampa.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. We’re officially halfway through the season and the Yankees are five games up on the Orioles in the loss column, six up on the Rays, and seven up on the Red Sox. Pretty great place to be. The Bombers will take Thursday off before heading up to Boston for four games in three days against the Sawx in the final series before the All-Star break. Hiroki Kuroda and Josh Beckett get things started on Friday night.