Not only have the Yankees now won four of their last six games, they’ve also scored at least six runs in four of the last six as well. Before that they’d gone eight straight without scoring more than four runs and seven of eight without scoring more than three runs. The Yankees are now 25-0 when scoring five or more runs this year, the only team in baseball with a perfect record in such games. Let’s recap Saturday’s 7-5 win over the Rays:
- Big Vern: Joe Girardi deserves a ton of credit for putting Vernon Wells in a position to succeed when he pinch-hit him for Chris Stewart with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh. Lefty Jake McGee was on the mound and he’s a pure fastball guy — just 7.7% offspeed pitches this year — which is right up Vernon’s alley. McGee threw fastball after fastball, and Wells eventually got hold of one and lined it into right-center for a bases-clearing fan interference double. It would have been a ground-rule double had it not hit the guy’s glove before completing the hop over the fence. The umpires (correctly) allowed the third run to score with two outs since the runner was off on contact, and the Yankees went from a one-run deficit to a two-run lead with one swing. Huge hit for Wells, both personally and for the team. Great job by Girardi of putting him in that spot.
- One Bad Inning: For the fifth time in the last eight games, the Yankees’ starter allowed at least four runs. CC Sabathia was cruising on Saturday afternoon until the sixth inning, when he walked leadoff man Sam Fuld (!) on four pitches (!!!). Five batters later, he surrendered a two-out, two-strike grand slam to rookie Wil Myers to turn a two-run lead into a two-run deficit. Brett Gardner almost made a great jumping catch, but the ball hit the top of the wall in right-center and hopped over for the kid’s first career dinger. Sabathia caught too much of the plate with a fastball and that was that. Outside of that inning, CC was great. Unfortunately that inning counts like all the rest.
- Stranded: Before Zoilo Almonte plated two runs with a two-out, two-strike single in the third, the Yankees blew big opportunities in the first and second innings (men on first and second with one out both times). They also had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth and failed to even put the ball in play — Almonte drove in the only run of the inning with a walk. When you have at least two runners on-base with fewer than two outs in four of the first five innings against a rookie pitcher, you’ve gotta score more than three total runs. You also shouldn’t rely on the kid who’s been in the show for less than a week to do all the work either.
- Leftovers: David Robertson and Mariano Rivera did their thing in the eighth and ninth to nail down the win without much of a problem … the Yankees drew nine walks as a team, including four by Robinson Cano. It was the first four-walk game of his career and only the sixth 3+ walk game of his career (fourth without an intentional walk) … in his 87th career plate appearance, David Adams drew his first big league walk. Two plate appearances later, he drew his second walk to force in the team’s fourth run before scoring on Vernon’s double … believe it or not, no one on the team had more than one hit. The Yankees also scored seven runs even though Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki (aka the one-two hitters) reached base once in ten combined plate appearances.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score and no highlights, ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees and Rays will wrap up this four-game series on Sunday afternoon, otherwise known as Old Timers’ Day. The festivities start a little after 11am ET. Ivan Nova and Chris Archer will be your pitching matchup once the actual game begins. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the Old Timers’ fun.