Homers rule the night as Yankees hold on for win over O’s

Melky's walk-off HR keeps the AAA season alive
Sanchez tops MLB.com's top 20 Yankees prospects lists

Source: FanGraphs

At this point, I’m surprised when someone on the Yankees and Orioles doesn’t hit a homer. The two clubs combined for six homers on Friday, including a seventh that was robbed by Nate McLouth. The Yankees had men on-base for each of their three dingers though (plus the would-be fourth homer), so they came out on top and regained sole possession of the AL East for at least another night. Let’s recap…

  • Bombs Away: After hitting just five homers in their last nine games, the Yankees swatted three in the span of nine batters in the middle innings of Friday’s win. Russell Martin got it all started with a three-run shot off Wei-Yin Chen, then a few batters later Steve Pearce hit a two-run shot to stretch the lead to five-zip. It was his first as a Yankee. One inning later, Alex Rodriguez launched his first homer since coming off the DL, sending the two-run shot over the home bullpen in left-center. He’s got three extra-base hits in his last three games, so I guess my concerns about the strength in his hand following the injury were a waste of time. The three dingers accounted for seven runs.
  • Sixth Inning Blues: In his last two starts (both against the Orioles), Phil Hughes has pitched pretty well … up until the sixth inning. On Friday he allowed just three hits across his first five innings before a Nick Swisher error at first — it was a tough error but an error nonetheless — opened the floodgates a bit in the sixth. McLouth followed up with a double to right and Adam Jones then drove a three-run dinger to left, his 29th of the year. Hughes retired the next three men in order to end the inning and his night, a six-inning start with three runs (two earned) and five strikeouts against zero walks. The homers are maddening, but I think we all would have signed up for three runs in six innings coming into the game. I know I would have.
  • Nine Outs: Squeezing three innings out of the bullpen is no easy task these days. Joe Girardi had to use four relievers to get those last nine outs, including Cody Eppley (one out, one homer), Boone Logan (three outs), David Robertson (two outs), and Rafael Soriano (three outs, one homer). Robertson threw three curveballs to Jones for a three-pitch strikeout, including two swings and misses. See? Good things happen when you throw that pitch, David. Keep doin’ it. The two homers were solo shots, but otherwise good job by the relief corps.
  • Leftovers: A-Rod‘s homer was his 300th as a Yankee, if you can believe that … Swisher is hitless on the road trip and had the homer robbed in the ninth … Derek Jeter had three hits while A-Rod had two, the only Yankees to reach base more than once … Curtis Granderson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, unable to build on his two hits from Thursday … props to Joe Girardi for emptying his bench and using a number of timely pinch-hitters … the Yankees have now scored 20 runs in their last three games after scoring 20 runs in the previous seven games, so hooray for the offense coming back to life.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. As I said earlier, the Bombers are back on top of the AL East by one game with 24 left to the play. The Rays remain two games back after walking off against the Rangers. The magic number to clinch the division is down to 24. Still a lone way to go. CC Sabathia will need to soak up some serious innings on Saturday night after the recent bullpen work, and he’s usually up to the task. Fellow southpaw Joe Saunders will be on the bump for Baltimore.

Melky's walk-off HR keeps the AAA season alive
Sanchez tops MLB.com's top 20 Yankees prospects lists
  • WhittakerWalt

    Sheesh, Curtis has got to get better soon.

  • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    Now we need the Big Man to give us some breathing room tomorrow.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

    Girardi should have left Phil to go out for the 7th. 95 pitches isn’t a lot and Phil recovered after the HR. There aren’t a ton of options but if you’re going to mix and match anyway have Hughes go back out there for another batter. But overall solid win I’ll take a few more of these.

    • Anthony

      I agree. Girardi should have left him considering the bullpen situation right now, and pulled him at the first sign of trouble (a la Eppley) if there was one.

    • Bob Buttons the Cat

      Might be a move to let the bullpen regain their confidence by protecting a lead successfully, regardless of how big the lead is.

    • Richard Leo


    • DM

      I thought the same — esp when Eppley is the other option. I guess Girardi thought differently after he got burned for trusting Hughes to get another out last time. Maybe the quick hooks for Phil are back like they were earlier in the season.

    • MidlandTX

      Completely disagree. He was missing all over the place with his fastball after the homer, and he’d already turned over the lineup a couple of times, and he’s past the point in his career where he should be left in to “figure it out” or “build confidence” or prove a point or whatever. After the McClouth double and the homer I was perfectly happy seeing him depart.

  • Jimmy Is Key To David’s Cone

    I think Curtis Granderson really, really needs to sit a few games. They have the personnel to make it possible now. And really, I think Andruw Jones is hitting better than Curtis right now, so it’s not like that matters. Someone suggested his hamstring tendinitis could still be a problem. I totally buy this, just because I can’t think of another explanation for how utterly terrible he has become. Tendinitis sucks — it’s a catch-all description for all sorts of nagging, persistent pain that doesn’t necessarily debilitate you but does upset your range and fluidity of motion and generally makes you feel like crap.

    • MidlandTX

      No comment on the medical diagnosis but I absolutely believe he should sit against the next lefty starter or two.

      • Andrew

        Over the last several years Granderson has become a long ball hitter. Should that be his MO? I don’t think so. In the past he has shown good bat control and now he’s second in the league in strikeouts. He still plays a great center. Should he sit? Probably, but his defensive ability saves lots of runs.

        • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

          On what Planet does he play a great centerfield because it sure isn’t earth.

          He’s a well below average centerfielder and has been for at least a few years and really should be moved to left.

          It’s looking more and more like 2011 was a career year for him with 2010 and 2012 more like the norm.

          • DT

            He’s been below average for two years. Through most of his career prior to that he’s been an above average CF defensively, that includes his first season with us. Not sure what changed betwern then and now.

          • Darren

            You shouldn’t smoke so much crack on Saturday morning, it leaves you unable to smoke your usual amount on Saturday night.

            “Curtis Granderson is a well below average centerfielder.”

            Yeah, no.

  • The Real Greg

    By the way, when was the last time Felix Hernandez didn’t complete at least 5 innings. Tonight against Oakland…

    4.2IP 11H 5ER

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Perhaps, one day, the Yankees will get a well-pitched game where they ALSO hit well.

    Is that truly too much to ask?


    • TomH

      It’s WAY WAY too much to ask!

  • BigBlueAL

    If the offense is finally out of its slump and will hit this way for the rest of the season winning the division should be no problem. Sure the bullpen worries continue and only having 2 SP’s who can give you more than 5 quality innings on a consistent basis are still problems but considering the schedule down the stretch a back to normal offense should be enough to win the division.

  • Dewayne Wise

    Hi my wOBA is fifty points higher than Ichiro’s since we switched teams.

    • DC

      So. Maybe if it was 50 points higher before they made the trade, Ichiro would still be in Seattle.

      • Brian S.

        It was.

        • DT

          in a 61 AB sample size. His career OPS is lower than Ichiro’s OPS this season.

    • WhittakerWalt

      Don’t get cocky, birthmark. You still suck.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      But we shoukdnt fill AAA with journeymen because it……keeps Ravel Santana in the GCL or something.

    • The Real Greg


  • Mike

    Would anyone besides me be in favor of keeping Nunez in the OF or DH (not every game but most games) and not giving another AB all year to Andruw Jones

    .141/.229/.247 – Jones’ slash line in the 2nd half this season.

  • dkidd

    did anyone hear sterling’s call for pearce’s home run? just curious

    time for cc to pitch like a True Ace!

    • DT

      I’ll be fine with what he did against the rays…I just hope the offense can score some runs this time.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I happened to be driving when it occurred. “Pierce is Fierce!”

      Beats “Sammy is Clammy!”, which is what Eddard suggested.

  • Brian West

    “Pearce is Fierce” was Sterling’s call for Pearce’s home run.

  • Frank

    Time for CC to pitch like the ace he masquerading as. BP is spent – he needs to go 8 tonight of with no more than 2 runs allowed. This is a big game-CC usually comes up short in a must win. Tonight he needs to carry the load big time.

  • nsalem

    bad weather forecast today. Maybe quite a long evening.

  • Wayne

    Is soriano under contract for Yankees next season. If he has a player option I would think he does opt. Man we lose soriano that would be hard. Does anyone have a list of closers we could get in free agency this offseason besides soriano if he doesn’t sign with us that we could get for same amount we were paying soriano.

    • Mike

      Grant Balfour (35) – $4.5MM club option with a $350K buyout
      Jonathan Broxton (29)
      Matt Capps (29) – $6MM club option with a $250K buyout
      Brandon League (30)
      Ryan Madson (32) – $11MM mutual option with a $2.5MM buyout
      Brett Myers (32) – $10MM vesting option with a $3MM buyout
      J.J. Putz (36) – $6.5MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
      Mariano Rivera (43)
      Fernando Rodney (36) – $2.5MM club option with a $250K buyout
      Joakim Soria (29) – $8MM club option with a $750K buyout
      Jose Valverde (35)

      • Kosmo

        I like that guy Mariano followed by Soria and Balfour.

  • Wayne

    Hop we don’ t play doubleheader if we do on Sunday we might have to call up Montgomery and Whitley and maybe even kahnle.

    • Pat D

      Yea, that can’t happen.

  • Squints

    Why is Nunez up on the team if he isnt going to get ABs?

    • EDDARD

      I imagine they don’t want him playing the field because of his past miscues on defense. A-Rod and Cano have been DHing and if Teix is back he might be the DH today. If they didn’t need the DH for old, injured players I think Nunez would DH. We might see him in the next two games if Teix, A-Rod and Jeter all play the field.

      • Mike

        I would take my chances with him in LF over Andruw Jones who can’t do a thing anymore, bat or glove.

        As atrocious is Nunez’s defense, Andruw Jones’ bat is probably just as bad.

        • Squints

          Def dont wanna see him in the field, im talking DH in the 2 hole to add speed to the top of the lineup. 9-Ichiro 1-Jeter 2-Nunez gives you some speed at the top being Swish has been slumping and Nunez is real quick on base paths.

  • Kiko Jones

    Gotta accentuate the positive (Jeter’s on fire; A-Rod’s return has been quite productive; and Russell Martin batting in the 5 spot has REALLY paid off), especially after a win, but it should be of concern that a game that the Yankees led 7-0 ended 8-5. Pitchers need to get it together and soon.


    The offense is back. They’re hitting HRs again, A-Rod and now Teixera will be back which makes the whole lineup much more formidable. Now instead of players like Andruw batting cleanup he’ll bat 7th or 8th.

    CC needs to step up today like Phil did last night. The starter on Sunday is going to be shaky whether it’s Nova or Freddy so today is the one to win with the ace on the mound. The offense should be able to pound Joe Saunders.

    • Kosmo

      The Yanks have pounded Saunders in the past to the tune of a 6.28 ERA over 5 starts. Why not continue the tenderizing ?

  • Edmond

    I had said in a post here that baseball is a game of up and downs. Yanks were down, now they are up! Orioles were up, watch them GO DOWN! You didn’t mention McClout losing his streak! Prediction: Os miss the playoffs to the Rays!