The almost two-hour rain delay was worth the wait. The Yankees washed away the bitter aftertaste of Sunday’s loss by pounding the White Sox on Monday afternoon, taking the Labor Day matinee 9-1. They needed a stress-free win like this. Let’s recap:
- Huge Inning: When a team gives you six outs in an inning, you have to take advantage. The Yankees capitalized on three hilariously bad defensive miscues in the eight-run (!) fourth inning, their biggest inning of the season. They’d done six runs a few times before. The first seven batters in the inning reached base and I guess the big blow was Austin Romine‘s two-run single to that turned a 2-0 game into a 4-0 game. That’s when the lead became comfortable. Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano both doubled in runs while the ChiSox a) dropped a foul pop-up, b) failed to turn an inning-ending double play because they took their sweet time, and c) had a ball thrown into the outfield on another double play attempt. It was an ugly inning for the bad guys.
- Huff Enuff: For the third time in the last two weeks or so, left-hander David Huff was very impressive in long relief. He allowed one run (a solo homer by Paul Konerko) on five hits and no walks in 5.2 innings, striking out three and throwing a first pitch strike to 15 of 20 batters faced. Huff threw 62 pitches and started to fade late, but I think the Yankees have to start him over Phil Hughes in five days. Hughes hasn’t pitched well in a long time and Huff has earned a look. He might not be good for 100+ pitches, but that’s not a problem with the expanded rosters. The southpaw soaked up some serious innings and has quickly emerged as an important member of the pitching staff.
- The Two Yutes: Congrats to Cesar Cabral and J.R. Murphy, who successfully made their big league debuts in garbage time. Cabral threw a scoreless inning and struck out the two lefties he faced on three pitches apiece. Murphy’s hard-hit two-hop ground ball off the third baseman’s glove went for an infield hit. Congrats to both guys. They were the 51st and 52nd players used by the Yankees this year, setting a new franchise record.
- Leftovers: Hughes retired four of the five batters he faced before being knocked out by the rain delay … Gardner led off a third consecutive game with a double, then Derek Jeter doubled him in for the game’s first run. They were the only players with multiple hits … every Yankee had a hit except Curtis Granderson, who drew a walk and otherwise picked a good day to have a bad day … New York went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position even though just two of the final 16 men they sent to the plate reached base … Adam Warren wrapped things up with a scoreless ninth.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Yankees will be either three games (Rays lose) or four games (Rays win) back of the second wildcard spot. Their postseason chances sit 13.6% at according to Cool Standings at the moment. Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Sale will square off in the middle game of this three-game set on Tuesday night. Check out RAB Tickets for last minute deals.