For the first time this season, the Yankees have won six consecutive games. They rallied back from two multiple-run deficits to beats the Orioles by the score of 5-4 on a hot and sticky Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. Let’s recap the latest victory:
- Two Shortstops: With Eduardo Nunez off the DL and Luis Cruz manning third, the Yankees had two natural shortstops in the lineup. The duo came through when the team had the bases loaded with no outs in the second, driving in two runs on a bloop single (Cruz) and a sacrifice fly (Nunez). It could have been an even bigger inning had Lyle Overbay not foolishly gotten thrown out at third trying to advance on the sac fly, but two runs are two runs. I’ll take it.
- Not So Dandy: For the sixth time in seven starts off the DL, Andy Pettitte allowed at least four runs. Chris Davis hit a two-run homer in the first that just carried and carried and carried … I thought it was a routine fly ball off the bat and so did he based on his reaction. The ball carries on hot days though, even to dead center. Alexi Casilla doubled in a run in the second, then Taylor Teagarden singled in another in the fourth. Those last two are harder to swallow than the Davis homer. Pettitte managed throw 6.2 innings on 100 pitches — he looked done after five — despite allowing the four runs on nine hits. Kinda weird that Andy is the weak link in the rotation right now.
- Small Ball: The Yankees have made a habit of playing small ball lately, and it led to the walk-off win on Friday night (thanks to two botched bunt defenses). On Saturday they took advantage of bunts not once, but twice. Brett Gardner moved two runs up in the fifth, then both came around to score on Ichiro Suzuki‘s infield single and Robinson Cano‘s flare to left. In the sixth, Cruz moved a runner up so Nunez could drive him in for the game-winning run with a ten-hopper back through the middle. I guess they’re just going to bunt their way back into contention.
- Leftovers: New York had ten hits and all ten were singles. Overbay had three and Nunez had two in his return to the lineup … Chris Stewart drew a pair of walks while Cano and Travis Hafner had one apiece … the Yankees went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position overall, which is what you need to do when you can’t hit the ball out of the park … Shawn Kelley struck out the only man he faced to escape Pettitte’s jam in the seventh, then David Robertson and Mariano Rivera nailed it down late.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. With the win, the Yankees move passed the Orioles and have sole possession of the second wildcard spot. Their run differential on the year is up to … +1. How about that. Hiroki Kuroda, not Phil Hughes, will be on the bump Sunday afternoon when the Bombers go for the sweep. RAB Tickets is the place to go for last minute deals.