So that was a rather interesting Monday in Yankeeland, no? The 4-1 win over the Mariners is an afterthought following the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki, a classic surprise move that came out of nowhere in the late afternoon. The team’s new left fielder — who’s playing right while Nick Swisher (groin/hip) is on the shelf — helped his new team beat his old one to end a four-game losing streak. Let’s recap…
- Autopilot: Games like this are Hiroki Kuroda at his best. The veteran right-hander carved up an inferior lineup for seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits and walk while striking out nine. All but two of his 21 outs were recorded on the infield. Joe Girardi may have been able to squeeze another inning out of him after 107 stress-free pitches, but there’s no sense in pushing it. Kuroda did what he’s been doing pretty much all year.
- Ichiro!: Ichiro’s first day in pinstripes (well, road grays) went pretty well. He singled back up the box in his first at-bat and promptly stole second base, but his teammates were unable to drive him in. Ichiro then popped up to second his second at-bat, hit a rocket ground ball to first that Justin Smoak dove for and turned into an out his third time up, then lined a shot right at the second baseman in his fourth trip to the plate. He wasn’t tested with anything difficult in right. Pretty solid debut.
- Runs: The Mariners pushed a run across in the third and the Yankees responded immediately with a trio of their own in the fourth. Alex Rodriguez started it with a hustle double before Robinson Cano walked, Mark Teixeira doubled (one run scores), Raul Ibanez singled (one run scores), and Andruw Jones singled (one run scores). Five straight reached and the first three scored. A-Rod tacked on an insurance run with a solo homer to deep left-center in the eighth.
- Leftovers: David Robertson rolled his right ankle during a pitch in the eighth, but he remained in the game to throw one last pitch to end the inning. He’s fine as far as we know … Teixeira was on everything all night and smashed three balls over the shift for base hits … everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit except for Curtis Granderson, who struck out three times … the final out of the game was made when former Mariner Rafael Soriano got former Yankee Jesus Montero to fly out to former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki. Baseball.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced metrics, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles and Red Sox both lost while the Rays and Blue Jays were idle, so the Yankees increased their lead in the division to seven games over Baltimore and at least nine games over everyone else. Freddy Garcia will have his work cut out for him on Tuesday night when he gets the ball against Felix Hernandez.