I gotta say, that was a pretty solid win. The Yankees hit well, they pitched well, and they played defense well. What more could you ask? Let’s recap…
- Back-to-Back: The Yankees have scored multiple first inning runs in four of their last five games, and on Saturday afternoon they did it courtesy of a three-run Nick Swisher homer –breaking an 0-for-17 skid — and a solo shot by Andruw Jones. Robinson Cano took a pitch off his right hand with two outs, which really caused the inning to snowball a bit on Franklin Morales. The Yankees don’t miss fastballs, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw, and Boston’s lefty put a few right in the happy zone.
- Back-to-Back Part Two: Because one set of back-to-back homers wasn’t enough, Jones and Jayson Nix doubled up on solo shots in the fifth. Andruw’s was a little wall-scraper but Nix’s was a legit blast like the two first inning jacks. All four dingers came on Morales’ fastball and they collectively tripled his season total of dingers allowed.
- Right Sweat Fred: How many innings out of Freddy Garcia would you have been happy with coming into the game? Five? That seems reasonable given the Fenway Park factor plus the fact that it was only his second start out of the bullpen. Freddy instead turned in 6.2 innings of one-run ball, going above and beyond all expectations. He struck out five (including at least one on his mystery pitch), walked two, and got lots of weak fly balls. It works for him. Unlike Hiroki Kuroda on Friday night, Garcia made the big early lead hold up. Major, major props to him. Star of the game.
- Leftovers: Not only did Andruw hit two homers, he also made a great leaping catch at the wall and was able to double David Ortiz off first base in the sixth inning. It was a vintage 2005 game out of him … Alex Rodriguez and Swisher both got picked off first base in the third inning, killing a potentially huge rally. A-Rod was nabbed on a set play with the first baseman sneaking behind him, but outs on the bases remain the worst outs … Robinson Cano’s nine-game RBI streak came to end … Derek Jeter (three singles), Swisher (homer, single, two walks), and Jones (two homers) all had multiple hits … scoreless relief from Cody Eppley (four outs) and Chad Qualls (three outs) spared the big bullpen guns heading into tonight … the only real negative is that the Yankees allowed Justin Germano to throw 5.2 scoreless innings, so Boston’s bullpen is in good shape for the nightcap.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The win guarantees that the Yankees will leave this series having lost zero ground to the Red Sox int he standings, so now it’s time to get greedy and pad that lead. These same two clubs play again tonight, when Phil Hughes gets the ball against Felix Doubront. That one starts a little after 7pm ET. See you then.