Three wins in a row! Four wins in the last five games! Competitive baseball! The Yankees looked as good as they’ve looked all season on Tuesday night, at least offensively. They hit for power (three doubles and three homers), they hit for average (season-high 19 hits), they drew walks (five), they hit with runners in scoring position (5-for-13, .385), they pounded the other team’s bullpen (ten runs and 15 base-runners in 3.2 innings) … it was glorious. An ol’ fashioned Bronx Bombers beatdown.
Alfonso Soriano was the star of the night, going 3-for-6 with two homers and a career-high six runs batted in. Is that’s weird? Soriano’s been playing forever — plus he has three three-homer games to his credit — yet he’d never driven in six runs in one game until Tuesday. Baseball, man. Eduardo Nunez drove in a career-high tying four runs and Alex Rodriguez also drove in a pair with a booming double off the base of the left-center field wall. Curtis Granderson and Lyle Overbay had three hits apiece — the Grandyman is really starting to swing the bat well — and Robinson Cano had both a pair of hits and a pair of walks. Every position player, including pinch-hitter Brett Gardner, reached base at least once. Eight of ten guys reached at least twice. It was a total team effort. Oh, and Vernon Wells hit his first homer since like 2011. Actually mid-May, but who’s keeping track?
All of that offense helped cover for CC Sabathia, who was again shaky despite recording the bare minimum quality start (three runs in six innings). The big lefty walked a career-high tying six batters, which he’s done thrice before. Things would have been a lot worse if not for a fortunate (and from what I understand, incorrect) call to end the sixth inning, when Chris Nelson was called out at third base for leaving too early on a sacrifice fly. If that run scores, the game is tied and everything changes. Bullpen usage, pinch-hitters, everything. That call was a game-changer and goes to show how much help Sabathia needs to be effective these days. He’s a mess.
Dellin Betances had a rough first outing since being called up (four runs in two-thirds of an inning), but he hadn’t pitched in a while and had to sit through a poorly timed rain delay. I’m giving him a mulligan. Hopefully he does better next time. Shawn Kelley was the bullpen hero, retiring four of the five men he faced to escape Sabathia’s jam in the seventh and give the offense enough time to blow things open. Outside of Kelley, the team’s core relievers all got a much needed night off. That’s big.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees climbed to within six games of the second wildcard spot in the loss column, and Cool Standings says they have a 5.7% chance of making the postseason. They keep chipping away, but they will need to pick up the pace if they’re serious about playing October baseball. Ivan Nova will oppose Jered Weaver as the Bombers look for their fourth straight win on Wednesday night. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch the game live.
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Minor League Update: Sorry folks, no full update tonight. All of the regular box scores are available right here while the Short Season NY-Penn League All-Star Game box score is right here. C J.R. Murphy and 2B Gosuke Katoh both homered, SS Cito Culver had two hits in his High-A Tampa debut, and SS Abi Avelino reached base three times (single and two walks). Not much else going on, but go ahead and click the links anyway.