The bullpen was short on Friday, so the offense did its part to make sure the Yankees would have enough breathing room in the late innings. The result was big 11-6 over the Royals in the series opener. They’ve won three of four to start the eight-game road trip. Let’s recap…
- Two Two-Run Shots: The Yankees jumped out to a four-run lead in the second inning thanks to two-run homers from Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay. Overbay’s was an absolute bomb with that no-doubt sound off the bat. Travis Hafner (walk) and Jayson Nix (double) deserve props for reaching base ahead of the homers. It was a fine start to the game.
- Phlopped: After four strong starts, Phil Hughes took a beating at the hands on Friday. He allowed six runs in his 5.2 innings of work, including a pair of homers. One of those homers was a three-run shot by Jarrod Dyson (!), a slap-hitting speedster. They were the first long balls Phil allowed in three starts. The good news is that he threw a first pitch strike to 23 of 26 batters faced, which is ridiculous. Still, six runs in 5.2 innings is six runs in 5.2 innings. Shake it off and do better next time.
- Lead Re-Taken: The game was knotted at five before the Yankees exploded for five runs in the sixth inning. Chris Nelson plated two with a single while Overbay (double off a lefty), Brett Gardner (triple), and Robinson Cano (single) also had run-scoring hits in the inning. Seven of the first eight batters in the sixth reached base. Overbay drove in another run with a single in the ninth, giving him five ribbies on the night. Well done.
- Whiffpen: How about Shawn Kelley? He struck out six of the seven men he faced in 2.1 perfect innings, raising his season strikeout rate to 14.73 K/9 (38.7 K%). Boone Logan struck out two in a perfect ninth, and overall the pitching staff retired the final eleven men they faced, nine on strikeouts. That is shutting it down.
- Leftovers: Vernon Wells and Hafner went a combined 0-for-9 with a walk while the rest of the lineup went 16-for-34 (.471) with five doubles, a triple, and two homers … the Yankees scored double-digit runs against a non-Indians team for the first time this season … last but certainly not least, this was Joe Girardi’s 500th win as Yankees manager. Congrats to him.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has some other stats no one cares about. ESPN has the up to the minute standings. These same two teams will meet again Saturday night — yes, a dreaded Saturday night game — when Andy Pettitte gives it a go against Shields.