The Yankees stomped the Rays by the score of 9-4 on Friday night — the score makes it seem a lot closer than it felt — but more importantly, they lost Curtis Granderson for an extended period of time after a pitch broke his left pinky in the fifth inning. It’s a win in the standings and a loss in the big picture. Let’s recap…
- Three-Run Second: It started with (another) blown call at first base. David Adams was incorrectly ruled safe on an infield single, putting two men on-base for Lyle Overbay. He took a big hack at a 3-0 fastball and doubled in the first two runs of the game, then Jayson Nix singled him in for a three-zip lead. The call at first would have only been the second out of the inning, but it changed everything. The Yankees took advantage of the gift call.
- Blown Open: It’s been a while since the Bombers put a crocked number on the board, so it was nice to see them so some serious damage in the middle innings. Brett Gardner sabotaged a first pitch fastball for a two-run homer in the fourth, which is exactly what he’s done for three of his four homers this year. Nix (bases loaded walk), Chris Stewart (single), and Robinson Cano (bases loaded hit-by-pitch) each drove in a run in the fifth to make it eight-zip.
- Job Security: Ivan Nova is going to have to get comfortable in the bullpen. David Phelps retired the first 13 men he faced on Friday and finished the night with four runs allowed in a career-high 7.2 innings, a line that looks a lot worse than he actually pitched. He threw 63 of 98 pitches for strikes and was very efficient, never once throwing more than 15 pitches in an inning. Phelps’ night came to an unfortunate end when a line drive hit him in the right forearm — there’s a chance he was going to be removed at time anyway — but x-rays came back negative and it’s just a bruise. Once again, the right-hander was rock solid. Nova ain’t taking this rotation spot back anytime soon.
- Leftovers: The bottom four spots in the lineup went a combined 8-for-18 (.444) and scored six of the nine runs … replays showed Cano was not hit by the pitch in the fifth, it hit the bat and he was awarded first base anyway … Nix had a very strong game, with a single and a triple to go along with the bases loaded walk … Boone Logan struck out the only man he faced while Shawn Kelley worked a scoreless, strikeout-less ninth … the Yankees went 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position and remain undefeated (22-0) when leading after seven innings … the Rays had to get 15 outs from their bullpen, which could impact the rest of the series.
Check out MLB.com for the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs for some more stats, and ESPN for the updated standings. Both the Red Sox and Orioles won, so they remain two and four back of the Yankees in the loss column. The Rays dropped to five back. These same two teams will play game two of this three-game set on Saturday afternoon, and the pitching matchup features a pair of very different southpaws: Vidal Nuno and Matt Moore.