Well look at that, The O’Neill Theory worked. The Yankees came out swinging on Friday night, taking a big early lead against the Red Sox before pouring it on again late. That was a wholly satisfying game. Let’s recap the 10-3 win:
- Right Power!: New additions Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds gave the Yankees all the runs they would need in the first three innings. Soriano plated a run with an infield single to short in the first, Reynolds drove in a pair with a two-run homer in the second, and Soriano tacked on three more with a mammoth three-run homer in the third. The Bombers were up six runs before making their seventh offensive out.
- Dandy Andy: For the first time in eight starts, Andy Pettitte did not allow a first inning run. For the first time in two months, Pettitte looked really sharp. He held the high-powered Sawx to one run on three hits in the first six innings before running out of gas in the seventh, ultimately finishing the night with three runs (all unearned thanks to Eduardo Scissorhands) allowed in 6.2 innings. Andy struck out five and recorded 17 of his 20 outs on the infield. That was a very encouraging outing.
- Blown Open: The Red Sox closed the gap to four runs in the eighth, but the Yankees blew it open late with three runs in the ninth. Five singles — including three straight by the 7-8-9 hitters with two outs — did the damage. New York had double-digit hits for the fourth straight game (first time since last April) and 15+ hits for the third time in those four games. They scored double-digit runs for the third time in four games as well. Safe to say the offense is clicking on all cylinders. It’s glorious.
- Shaky ‘Pen: Although they did not allow a run, four relievers combined to put five men on-base in 2.1 innings of work. Shawn Kelley struck out the only man he faced to escape Pettitte’s jam in the seventh, but David Robertson was bailed out by an at ’em ball double play in the eighth. Joba Chamberlain couldn’t record three outs with a seven-run lead in the ninth. It took all of six hours for the dumb decision to demote Preston Claiborne in favor of Joba to have an on-field impact. David Huff had to clean up the bases loaded mess and end the game. Those last few innings were more interesting than they needed to be considering the score.
- Leftovers: Soriano became the first Yankee with four straight 3+ hit games since Johnny Damon in August 2006. He also tied a big league record with 18 RBI in a four-game span … Brett Gardner, Nunez, Alex Rodriguez, Reynolds, and Chris Stewart all had two hits as well … Robinson Cano singled and walked … the DH was the only lineup spot without a hit, but Vernon Wells and Curtis Granderson did draw one walk apiece … Michael Kay and Ken Singleton absolutely crushed it while discussing union rights, David Ortiz, and other performance-enhancing drug stuff in the fourth inning. Best inning of the year from the booth.
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 in the loss column for the AL East lead, if you’re still holding out hope for a division title. Depending on the outcome of the late game, they’ll be either five games (Athletics lose) or six games (Athletics win) back of the second wildcard spot. Cool Standings has their playoff chances at 9.1%. Hiroki Kuroda and John Lackey is your pitching matchup for Saturday afternoon’s FOX broadcast.