The Yankees have lost consecutive games just once since the 1-4 start to the season, and they avoided the dreaded two-game losing streak on Saturday with an impressive 4-2 win over the Athletics. Good pitching and timely hitting, there’s your ballgame. Let’s recap…
- Philthy Phil: As I mentioned in the open thread, this was tied for the best start of Phil Hughes’ career (by Game Score). He allowed three singles, one double, and one walk in eight scoreless innings of work, striking out nine and throwing a first pitch strike to 21 of 29 batters faced. Eighty-two of his 118 total pitches were strikes — including a ridiculous 19 swings and misses — the most strikes thrown by a Yankee and sixth most by any pitcher this season. Hughes retired the last ten men he faced and didn’t allow a single A’s player to make it to third base. He was awesome and has been for four starts now.
- Solo Homers & Singles: The Yankees built a bit of a picket fence against Bartolo Colon and the Oakland bullpen, scoring exactly one run in four of the first seven innings. Chris Stewart (!) opened the scoring with third inning solo homer down the left field line while Lyle Overbay followed with a bigger blast into the second deck in right two innings later. They tacked on ultimately important insurance runs in the sixth and seventh with singles from Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner. Both of those rallies started with extra-base hits and ended with soft hits — Hafner’s was a bloop off the end of the bat while Gardner’s was an infield single off the second baseman’s glove.
- Short Leash: I don’t understand why Joe Girardi bothered to send Shawn Kelley to the mound in the ninth if his leash was one base-runner. Mariano Rivera didn’t pitch on Thursday or Friday, plus the team is off on Monday. Rest isn’t an issue. If you’re willing to bring in Mo with a four-run lead after a man reaches, just send him out for the full inning so he can start it fresh. Eh, whatever. Two runs scored in the ninth, one charged to Kelley and one to Rivera. Four Athletics batted while representing the tying run that inning.
- Leftovers: The Yankees had eight hits, including five for extra-bases. Overbay was the only player with two knocks while Ichiro Suzuki and Chris Nelson went hitless. Everyone else had one hit apiece … the Bombers didn’t draw a single walk, which isn’t surprising. Bartolo Colon has walked one batter (!) in 37.1 innings this season … I have to think Preston Claiborne has a chance to take Kelley’s job if he pitches well between now and when Joba Chamberlain comes off the DL. Kelley has pitched poorly and he clearly doesn’t have Girardi’s trust.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte to the mound in the rubber game on Sunday afternoon while the Athletics will counter with rookie right-hander Dan Straily. If you want to catch the final game of the homestand in person, check out RAB Tickets.