Boy was that game messy. Not the play, mind you. The two teams played surprisingly clean baseball considering it rained from start to finish — there was a one hour and 13 minute rain delay in the bottom of the fourth — and the sloppy field. Ugly, ugly conditions. Let’s recap the 2-0 win:
- ERA King: Thanks to his five shutout innings, Hiroki Kuroda now leads all qualified AL starters with a 2.65 ERA. The Twinkies did put eight runners on base against him in those five innings, but he struck out five and kept them off the board. I was (very) surprised Kuroda went back after the lengthy delay, especially to throw just one more inning, but it was no big deal in the end. Hiroki was dynamite again, as he has been for the entire first half.
- Small Balled: After the rain delay the Yankees came right out and plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Luis Cruz led the inning off with a single to left, then moved to second on Chris Stewart‘s bunt. Brett Gardner drove him in with a ground ball single through the left side. Two batters later, the Twins pitched to Robinson Cano with a base open for no apparent reason, and he singled in Gardner for the all-important insurance run. Ron Gardenhire said they wouldn’t let Cano beat them … two weeks ago during the series in Minnesota. And yet, Robbie keeps beating them.
DeathLife By Bullpen: After Kuroda, Joe Girardi rolled out four relievers and they held the Twins to two base-runners over the final four innings. Preston Claiborne allowed back-to-back hits to leadoff the seventh, but Boone Logan bailed him out in a huge way by striking out lefties Chris Parmelee, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau in order. That was huge. David Robertson handled the eighth and Mariano Rivera the ninth. Logan got the three biggest outs though. He was a boss.
- Leftovers: The Yankees had as many hits (six) as walks (six). Lyle Overbay was the only player with two hits, Cano the only player with two walks. Gardner and Vernon Wells had one of each … as you can see above, Aaron Hicks made one hell of a throw to nail Wells at third leading off the sixth. Can’t even be mad at Vernon for that, it took a perfect throw in imperfect conditions and Hicks did it. Props … this was the Yankees
sixthsecond win when scoring two runs or less. They had six last season.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the WPA graph, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles won and the Rays lost, so the Yankees are tied with Baltimore and are one back of Tampa in the loss column for the second wildcard spot. Phil Hughes and Samuel Deduno is your pitching matchup in Saturday’s matinee. Check out RAB Tickets for any last minute deals.