Ichiro leads Yankees to comeback win over Rays


The season is young, but that was definitely the most satisfying win of 2013 in my opinion. Two comebacks, a ninth inning rally to win, a strong performance from the starter … that’s as good as it gets right there. The Yankees squeaked by the Rays by the score of 4-3.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

One And Not Done
A 32-pitch first inning usually isn’t a good sign, but luckily that was not the case on Tuesday. Phil Hughes labored through the opening frame as the Tampa batters fouled off 15 total pitches (ten with two strikes) and had runners at second and third with no outs, but he escaped the jam allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly before settling down over the next six innings. Only three of the next 20 batters the right-hander faced managed to reach base.

I thought the most impressive part of Phil’s night was the way he just brutally pounded the strike zone. He threw a first pitch strike to the first 15 men he faced and to 24 of 27 (!) batters faced overall. Thirteen of those 27 batters saw a 0-2 count. Seventy-eight of 109 pitches were strikes (71.6%). PitchFX says Hughes averaged 93.0 mph and topped out at 94.6 mph with his fastball, so he was pumping some gas in there. Tampa’s batters swung and missed eleven times overall, including five times at that little baby slider he’s throwing. His only mistakes were the two leadoff walks — both came around to score — but otherwise I thought Phil was really good. Love the aggressiveness.

The Comebacks
It’s no secret the Yankees struggle against left-handers, and twice on Tuesday they found themselves down a run with David Price on the mound. The first time they tied the game came on Vernon Wells‘ fourth inning single, but that inning could have been a lot bigger. They had men on the corners with no outs before the single and men on first and second with no outs after the single, but Ben Francisco (fly out) and Lyle Overbay (double play) snuffed that one out. That sucked.

The second game-tying rally came four innings later and it was basically the same situation, men on the corners with no outs. Ichiro Suzuki deftly advanced to third on Jayson Nix‘s dinky little ground ball single through the left side to set things up. He was running on the play — I assume it was a stolen base attempt and not a hit-and-run — and just kept going. Very heads up. Gardner tied the game with a first pitch ground out to second, but again the Yankees couldn’t capitalize any further. Tying the game is great, but they could have done a little more.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

And The Yankees Take The Lead
Price was still on the mound come the ninth inning, but Robinson Cano forced him out of the game by ending a seven-pitch at-bat with a leadoff single to left. In came closer Fernando Rodney, but his first move was to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Travis Hafner. I always worry about pitchers losing the plate after they intentionally walk a batter, and sure enough Overbay took four balls to load the bases as the next batter. It was a tough at-bat though, Rodney wasn’t exactly wild.

This is where things got both interesting and annoying. Joe Girardi elected to stick with backup catcher Chris Stewart with the bases loaded and one out, skipping over an obvious pinch-hitter in Brennan Boesch. Stewart popped up into foul territory on the second pitch and suddenly the rally was on the verge of being squandered. Instead, Ichiro turned on a first pitch fastball that PitchFX measured at 99.6 mph (!) for a two-run single to center. We saw Ichiro swing at a first pitch fastball following two bases loaded walks in Toronto, presumably because he was hunting a first pitch fastball, and this time he managed to win the game with a similar approach. Pretty awesome.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Mariano Rivera‘s first pitch of the ninth was hit deep into the stands for a solo homer by Evan Longoria, but he settled down and retired the next three men he faced for the save. David Robertson was especially filthy in the eighth, striking out two and getting some silly swings on his curveball. He was pretty dominant and it was good to see him bounceback strong after blowing the lead against the Blue Jays last time out.

Cano, Ichiro, and Nix all had two hits while Nunez, Wells, and Stewart chipped in one apiece. They were all singles, the Yankees didn’t have a single extra-base hit on the night. The only walks went to Hafner and Overbay in that ninth inning rally. Despite their struggles against lefties, Price didn’t really settle down until the sixth inning, when he started a stretch of eight in a row retired.

Know what I loved? Eduardo Nunez stole second base in the first inning after singling with one out. It wasn’t the steal itself that I loved, it was that he didn’t mess around and he ran on the first pitch, getting to second quickly and giving the middle of the order plenty of opportunities to drive him in. They didn’t score that inning, but still. Brett Gardner could learn a thing or two from Nunez, he never seems to run early in the count.

The win is New York’s third at Tropicana Field since July 2011, a span of 15 games. That’s … bad.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. If you’re monitoring the standings on a day-to-day basis this year in the season, just stop. It’s way too early for that. Seriously.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Rubber game on Wednesday night, when Andy Pettitte will square off against Alex Cobb. The most important thing: Mr. Cobb is a right-hander. Hooray for that.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. Cy Pettitte says:

    4-3 in games started by LHP, YCPB.

  2. forensic says:

    RIGHTY Alex Cobb. WOOHOO!

    • Havok9120 says:

      For some reason, he’s stuck in my head as “Bobb Cobb.”

      This is how I refer to him. Which I obviously do as much as possible.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Bobb Cobb it is.

      • forensic says:

        Bobby Cobb is a character on Cougar Town…

        • Havok9120 says:

          I have absolutely no way of knowing that.

          How is that even a real show? Is that even a real show?

          • forensic says:

            Yup, it’s a real show. My wife is a big fan so I’m pretty familiar with it. It has its moments, but a lot of it is kind of blah.


          • Troll says:

            It’s Bill Fu*king Lawrence! The creator of Scrubs!

          • Cool Lester Smooth says:

            It’s a real show, and it’s actually a pretty damn funny hang out comedy.

            It’s like if How I Met Your Mother had a 10 year flash-forward and they all moved to Florida.

            • Troll says:

              Never compare that CBS drivel to the wonderment of Bill Lawrence. You might as well be saying that The Big Bang Theory is funnier than New Girl, Modern Family, South Park, and Curb Your Enthusiasm combined. Next you’ll be telling me that NCIS is better than Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. CBS is pure, unadulterated shit. It feeds the stupidity of America by constantly playing down to the lowest common denominator. Yuck. Diatribe over.

              • GreenArm says:

                Troll 2 was better than Troll.

              • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                Have you ever seen How I Met Your Mother? S1-4 are even better than this past season of New Girl, and a hell of a lot better than Modern Family has ever been.

                It’s not very good now, but comparing it to BBT is like saying that Scrubs sucks because it pretty much fell apart after S5. (S8 was alright)

                • Troll says:

                  To downplay the writing, heart, and character formation on Modern Family (as well as New Girl) is a kick in the nuts to quality of any kind. To hate it because it’s popular doesn’t work with respect to these shows. Chuck Lorre, on the other hand . . . I’ve always been one to give credit where credit’s due and Mr. Lorre, well, he’ll never receive an ovation of any kind from me. He’s downright terrible and singlehandedly proves that America, as a whole, on the average, is a nation of backwards, buck-toothed, bumblin’, banjo-strummin’, brainwashed buffoons. And, at the very least, in regards to Modern Family, you get regular shots of Sofia Vergara’s bountiful assets. Hardly much to complain about there . . .

                  • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                    How I Met Your Mother isn’t by Chuck Lorre…

                    It’s by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

                    And you’ve clearly never seen it if you claim that Modern Family has better writing or character development. Not to mention that it’s absurd that you’re placing MF anywhere near the same echelon as New Girl.

                    It’s all on Netflix Instant, educate yourself before you presume to lecture a dude whose handle is a Wire reference on TV minutiae; I watch as much TV as Troy Barnes.

                    • Troll says:

                      Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but I’ve written for several television shows, so . . . I MAY know a thing or two about a thing or two. And, trust me, I’m perfectly content knowing next to nothing about HIMYM. The show’s only attraction was employing Nick Swisher for an episode. Also, Jason Segel. He’s good in my book.

                      Shouldn’t Troy be too busy bangin’ Brita to watch the droves of television you claim to?

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      You can be happy knowing next to nothing about HIMYM.

                      But once you start bashing it, that lack of knowledge takes away any ground you ever had to stand on.

                    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                      Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris don’t do it for you? What about the multi-season arc with Sarah Chalke? Alexis Denisof and Kyle MacLachlan play other recurring characters.

                      3 of the 5 stars are cult TV icons, and Cobie Smulders is fucking awesome and currently in the process of breaking into Hollywood.

                      Lastly, I don’t care if you work in the business. You may “know a thin or two about a thing or two”, but you’ve pretty clearly demonstrated that How I Met Your Mother is not included in that thing or two.

                      Watch “Slap Bet.” It’s much funnier than any Cougar Town episode, and I adore Cougar Town.

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        He’ll henceforth be known as the Maestro.

  3. Deathstroke Heathcott says:

    Would love if Hughes could solidify the 4th starter role like this. No team has 5 studs in a rotation anyway so I can deal with Nova/Phelps/Pineda/Wang/whatever else we can try at the 5th starter role as long as Hughes has some outings like this.

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      I’m really, irrationally, high on Pineda. I think if he can come back this season then all of a sudden we’re in the conversation with Detroit and Washington as best rotation in the league because he’ll easily bump Hughes down to the 5 spot and could possibly knock Pettitte out of the 4 spot.

      • Deathstroke Heathcott says:

        I do think he could work his way up to what we’d consider our 4 spot above Hughes but Pettitte’s been just too good of late to not consider him one of our top 3 starters. Either way, I’d go to battle with any playoff team in a playoff series with CC-Kuroda-Pettitte and either a Hughes that figures out his homerun issues or a Pineda who has recovered better from his injury than most of us could have hoped for.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Anibal Sanchez, Wade Miller and Roger Clemens are the only other SP with Pineda’s specific injury. The only one who didn’t come back was Miller, who was 26 and had pitched a few hundred more innings in the MLB than any of the others had pitched in their careers.

  4. Matt says:

    Well luckily for their performance against LHP, they are due to get back 4 RHB that hit LHP over the next couple of months. One of them is due back in a few days, one in a few weeks, and the other 2 at the ASB.

    This will be a completely different team in a few weeks. Every win that they steal now is a win that will be harder to wrest from them as guys get healthy. If I were the rest of the American League, I’d be very worried right now about letting the Yankees hang so close.

  5. Slowleftarm says:

    I’m new to this site. Seems like it’s just some guy named Mike Axisa complaining a lot about the Yankees.

  6. Dalek Jeter says:

    Favorite win of the season so far.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:


    • Deathstroke Heathcott says:

      Ichiro’s favorite win of the season so far too, I’m sure. Hopefully he gets a little hot over the next few weeks.

    • vicki says:

      that’s saying something in a young season that’s seen a hiro-cgso-slash-ggbg-hr-against-a-leftie and a triple-play-slash-adam-jones-fail, both against the uppity o’s. but yeah. beating price is always delicious.

  7. Eddard says:

    Most people, including myself, overreacted on Hughes and Ichiro. They should be back in our good graces now. Phil has put together 2 great games in a row and went toe to toe with a Cy Young pitcher tonight. Ichiro gave us the big hit we needed.

    That’s now 3-2 on this road trip, guaranteed a .500 record. Andy on the mound tomorrow to possibly go 4-2 on the trip. That would be amazing. A win tomorrow would be big. Go back home on a high note and face the Jays and hapless Astros. And Ben Fransisco should have taken his last AB as a Yankee tonight.

    • JLC 776 says:

      Completely agree on Hughes. I will be bullish on him until the day I (or he) dies.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      Yes, because one clutch hit will make us hold a guy in higher regards than we should be. Don’t think that’ll happen.

      • forensic says:

        He also put together the tying run in the 8th. He really carried the comeback.

        • Dalek Jeter says:

          +1, I really hate Ichiro, and there is a decent probability he’s done, but he basically won us this game.

          • Deathstroke Heathcott says:

            We at least shouldn’t be lumping him with Ben Francisco like many were in the game thread. At least Ichiro can run and play defense and occasionally get hot and string together a couple weeks of good slap hitting. Ben Francisco needs to stop batting 2nd or 5th for my health.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              At least Ichiro is going into the HOF. Yes.

              Ichiro has much, much more rope with me than he’s got with the majority of folks on here.

        • Bob Buttons says:

          Was being sarcastic saying one clutch hit wouldn’t get him out of the dog house (see Ibanez, Raul). And wouldn’t really say he carried it. Large part in it, sure, but for all we know Rodney could have pitched one at his foot and he whiffs at it. Closer to doing the right things at the right time than carrying it, seeing how the rally in 9th wouldn’t have gotten to him if not for the guys in front of him.

          • GreenArm says:

            I can’t believe I’m going to type this, because it’s just too similar, biut: You just described baseball. Good job.

            If the right things happened at the right time, all the time, we would never lose.

            • Bob Buttons says:

              There are times people are doing the right things at the right time, like Rickey and Robinson. There are also people doing right things at the wrong time, like Nick Swisher, who somehow never shows up for the playoffs, but does quite well in the regular season.

              “Right things” is also objective. In baseball, what is doing the right thing? Is striking out right? What about making contact? GIDP ending the threat, or striking out and let the next hitter take their hacks? What is the “right” outcome here? Would it ultimately matter if the next hitter would have made an out either way? Would it really matter if you won or lost by a greater margin? Does it really matter if you win or lose one game in a 162 game season?

              And in baseball, can we actually “choose” to do the right thing? Can someone get a hit through pure will? Can someone get an out by pure will? Can someone ensure themselves doing the right things at the right time? I never said “right things happened at the right time”. I said “closer to doing the right things at the right time than carrying it”, which in plain English, is “The rare occasion of Ichiro getting a hit in the 2013 season coincided with a situation that would greatly benefit the Yankees if he got a hit”. This is not bloody carrying it. Carrying it would be more like Brett in 1985 ALCS game 3. in a 6-5 game won by KC (after losing the first two games), Brett accounted for 4 runs, 3 RBIs and 4 hits (2 homers). Did his teammates help? Sure. Did his teammates perform well? Not so much. The Royals got 10 hits in total. Players at three positions went hitless, and the ace, Saberhagen gave up 5 runs all by himself. Besides, it’s hard for pitchers to carry a team, unless you strike out like 20 guys or something. Is Ichiro putting an outstanding performance in the game? Not really. It isn’t that hard to find a guy who performed like him.

              What am I trying to say? Thanks for being a smart ass. Two can play at that game.

              • GreenArm says:

                Wow, you thought way too much about a silly little comment. Jokes, man. It’s roughly 1am (EST at least), calm down bud. You’ll never sleep With that kind of random agita. Break out the warm milk!

                And the other one line was just a play on something Singleton would say to Suzyn.

                • Bob Buttons says:

                  Bleh I didn’t mean to be hostile at 1 am in the morning, but in my defense “i can’t believe that I’m going to say this” usually precludes a comment about the absurdity of a previous comment.

                  On second read it didn’t sound as bad as I had read it the first time around, and sorry for that. Some asshole ignored his stop sign (when I didn’t have one) and I think he gave me a dirty look when I almost drove into his car heads-on (but either way it would look like it was my fault, when it was clearly his, and car insurance ain’t cheap.), and since then I’ve been a bit knee-jerk tonight. Plus some anxiety . But enough with random stories, sorry for being wound-up. I’m usually much more lax at this time of the day.

                  I like my milk cold and fresh out of the freezer, but cheers!

                  • GreenArm says:

                    Haha it’s been one of those days (well, with a terriffic end by some big yanks/knicks wins)!

                    And yeah the “can’t believe…” was just because i was actually making a terrible joke on S/S, but oddly complimentary towards them.

                    Anyways we can always agree om the box score and be happy!

                    • Bob Buttons says:

                      Ah yes, tomorrow will be a new day, and probably another Yanks win.

                      Wish I could have a day where I sleep and wake to Yankees wins. One of the rare times I rue my inability to sleep for 24 hours. Then again I do love my after-dinner desserts.

                    • GreenArm says:

                      RHP makes me so happy!

  8. Get Phelps Up says:

    Beating David Price after being 5 outs away from a loss with a lineup that has been less than stellar against LHP this season is especially sweet. And with Andy on the mound and facing a RHP we have a good shot at winning this series.

    Also, the word “Francisco” was mentioned 31 times in the game thread. I’m legit surprised it was that low.

  9. forensic says:

    Sucks that the O’s won again and stayed ahead in the standings, but it sure is fun watching the Jays and Dickey lose over and over.

  10. Luke says:

    Why is Ben Francisco our DH and hitting 5th? He’s terrible. Call up Neal, Almonte, or the corpse of Vlad Guerrero for all I care. This has gone on far enough.

  11. JRod says:

    Sweet win. Go Ichiro. I hate the Rays and their pathetic Burger King toy of a stadium. Did anyone see how the wall actually buckled and gapped when Gardner caught that loud out in the 2nd inning? It’s like they took a bunch of grade school gym mats and velcro-ed them to a framework of party straws.

  12. Manny's BanWagon says:

    Fucking Matt Cain can start pitching well any time now. He’s killing my fantasy team.

  13. Kramerica Industries says:

    Blue Jays have the 3rd worst run differential in baseball, ahead of only (hold on, you’ll never guess who…)

    the Marlins and Astros.

    This is fun. Although the Orioles continuing to be a solid baseball team isn’t quite as much fun.

    • Anthony says:

      Ditto to the last part. I still get annoyed thinking about how pesky they were during the stretch run last year. I am surprised at how Boston is doing so far, too. It might turn out a three way race.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      I personally don’t care as long as the Jays crash and burn. Their cocky bandwagon fans got my nerves enough during the off-season. Baltimore was pretty good 20 years ago so at least they are a baseball city. That and they helped Joe Flaccid and the Ravens open on the road.

      • nsalem says:

        Toronto was most certainly a baseball city 20 years back. They led the league in attendance 1989-1992 and outdrew the Yankee’s through 1997. Their attendance fell when they fell into mediocrity which is also historically the case everywhere else including NYC. They drew over 4 million a year for several years in a row while the Yankee’s never drew over 3.1 during the 96-01
        dynasty. Like you, I hope they crash an burn also, but they do have a passionate fan base which would in all likelihood would return if they ever become consistent winners again.

        • Bob Buttons says:

          I would not really call them a baseball city. I mean, Leafs season tickets waiting list is up to what? 10000? TFC is also winning once in a while. Even the Argonauts and Raptors are more popular. That really is hard to explain, because they suck also. Instead I see Toronto as a city that can support a baseball team.

          Long story short, I know that they can certainly embrace baseball, but from their pre-game shows, I doubt that they can have much knowledgable fans. Most of them involve flashy crap that looks like something from a music video. The crap they try to pull pisses me off, and Buck and Pat makes it sound like they are explaining the game to 10 year olds, saying the same common knowledge crap every single game.

          To avoid seeing large crowds of Toronto jersey donning bandwagoners (like the ones we saw during the series against them), I sincerely hope they suck for all eternity.

  14. whitey says:

    Was there really no one to hit for Stewart?

    • Jay says:

      I’m shocked Boesch didn’t pinch hit. He was the only guy on the bench besides Cervelli since Youk won’t be back till Thursday at the earliest

  15. vicki says:

    off topic, but i can admit i was dead wrong when i said the jr smith signing was typical dolan self-destruction.

  16. Dalek Jeter says:

    Anybody watching the Texas/LA Game? Scott Downs is getting screwed by his defense.

  17. Kramerica Industries says:

    Despite being 2-12 in the last 14 at the Trop, the Yankees still get this kind of fan support:



    • Bob Buttons says:

      Well, they do say fans who attend the spring training are probably more enthusiastic than those who don’t (for whatever understandable reason).

  18. forensic says:

    Even being on the run, not many guys would’ve gotten to 3rd in the 8th like Ichiro did. That was huge.

    Overbay is just not a good hitter, and was clearly way over-matched by Rodney in that AB, but he did a great job of hanging in there and drawing the tough walk.

    Not PH’ing for Stewart was beyond absurd. I personally would’ve used Cervelli instead of Boesch. Cervelli is more likely to make contact than Boesch and they didn’t need to small greater possibility of Boesch homering over Cervelli. Plus, it keeps that one player left for you on the bench.

    I think satisfying is a good way to put this win. I don’t think it beats out the O’s game with the triple play and dropped fly ball as the best game of the year. For me, it might be hard for any game started by a lefty to be best game of the year because there will be so many frustrating parts to it with the lineup Girardi sends out there.

  19. Bennett says:

    As I said after Hughes’ last start, I hoped that he would follow the pattern from last season and, after a putrid start where he couldn’t make it past the fifth inning, steadily go on a run of solid pitching. Looks like he decided to start early.

  20. johnnybk says:

    I predict the Yankees win tomorrow something like 7-2. Pettitte will allow 5 baserunners through eight and the offense will hit a few dingers. Make it happen boys!

  21. Pat D says:

    So long as Mr. Cobb doesn’t try to put the Yankees to sleep and try any of his extraction nonsense on them.

  22. forensic says:

    In other news, I’m finally catching up and watching the game against the D-Backs from Thursday (don’t ask me why…).

    Anyway, I just saw Ben Francisco actually get a hit. A picture perfect dying quail just over the shortstop and in front of the left fielder. It was a thing of beauty. No wonder he keeps playing.

    Meanwhile, Gregorius just hit his homer and the D’backs announcers can’t stop thanking their lucky stars that a loyal member of Diamondbacknation caught the ball instead of some schmuck Yankees fan, completely clueless to the fact that the guy who caught it couldn’t give two shits about the D’Backs and only wears that stuff to get more balls tossed to him.

  23. LarryM Fl says:

    Very good win last night, it was a pleasure to watch. St. Phillip was especially strong in his game plan and did not wilt after the first inning. There were many good points besides St. Phil’s especially Vernon’s single in the fourth. Jayson Nix’s single against the Cy Young award winner, not so cheap.Robertson’s 8th inning work. Plus some nice fielding work.
    Also the day before I declared Ichiro as “useless” with his offense production to date. I’m glad “useless” was in the game.
    Watching the game last night was a pleasure. Go Yanks!

  24. Wil Nieves #1 Fan says:

    Obviously the Rays are an offensively weak team, but the approach by Phil Hughes tonight would be welcome anytime.

  25. Slu says:

    I’ll eat crow. Good outing by Phil and great win for the team.

  26. JLC 776 says:

    I’m… cautiously looking forward to the next Hughes start. I would love to see three solid ones in a row!

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