The Yankees needed a win on Friday night, and that’s exactly what they got thanks to the newest member of the lineup. Outfielder Zoilo Almonte went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in his first career start, contributing to the two-run rally in the fourth and tacking on an insurance run in the sixth. New York hasn’t had a homegrown position player debut and have an immediate impact like this since … well since David Adams a few weeks ago. Gentle reminder to enjoy the great game but not to read much into it.
I only saw bits and pieces of the game on television and caught a few innings on the radio, so I can’t go into too much detail with the recap. I did see David Phelps pitch out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the fourth, a rather big moment in the game. The Yankees are struggling to score runs and he’d already given back two one-run leads, and it seemed like Tampa was getting ready to break things open and put the game to bed. Phelps escaped with two fly balls and offense took the lead for good the next half inning.
Almonte singled twice — including once to load the bases with no outs in the fourth — before hitting that solo homer in the sixth. It wasn’t a no-doubter but it wasn’t a Yankee Stadium cheapie; he hit it into the bullpen beyond the right field wall with a few feet to spare. The hit in the fourth was more important though, as it set the team up for their two-run inning. They needed help from an Evan Longoria throwing error — it was ruled a hit, but lol — but they got the two runs in. The team really isn’t in a position for me to care about how the runs score these days.
Finally, bigs ups to the bullpen for 3.1 scoreless innings in relief of Phelps. Boone Logan struck out the only man he faced to end the sixth with the tying run at the plate, Shawn Kelley struck out two in his perfect seventh inning, David Robertson pitched around a single in his scoreless inning, then Mariano Rivera put a bow on it with a flawless ninth. It wasn’t a save situation, but every win is important right now. The bullpen has had a rough go of it the last few days, so it was good to see the guys get back on track and nail down a much-needed win.
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN is the place to go for the updated standings. The Blue Jays beat the Orioles and the Red Sox won, so the Yankees are two back of Boston, one back of Baltimore, and three up on both Tampa and Toronto in the loss column. These two teams will play game three of this four-game series on Saturday afternoon, when CC Sabathia gets the ball against rookie right-hander Alex Colome. Check out RAB Tickets for last minute ticket deals.
[h/t my pal @GatorLenny for the title]