Staying up for these late night West Coast games is never easy, so it’s always nice whenever the Yankees can eke out a win. They used some late-inning heroics to top the Mariners 3-2 on Tuesday night. The Yankees avoided falling below .500 for the first time since the season was nine games old. Let’s recap:
- Amazing, Disappearing Offense: The Yankees met their daily quota with two runs in the first inning thanks to two-out hits from Carlos Beltran (double) and Brian McCann (infield single). Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira both singled to set up the rally. New York forced Hisashi Iwakuma to throw 46 pitches in the first two innings, then he retired 14 of the next 17 batters he faced and threw only 62 pitches in the next 5.1 innings. Things started off so promising, then the bats disappeared for about six innings.
- Numero Nuno: Vidal Nuno owes his outfielders a steak dinner. The gerbil-ish southpaw needed several outstanding defensive plays on well-struck balls to hold the Mariners to four hits and one run in 5.2 innings. Brett Gardner got off easy; Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro Suzuki had to make the really tough plays. Nuno did retire 13 of 15 at one point (again, thanks to his defense) and he now owns a 1.80 ERA in 25 innings away from Yankee Stadium. If he could pitch every game in Safeco Field with an elite outfield defense, he’d be pretty great.
- A Third Run?: Oddly, the Yankees scored another run in the eighth inning, but not until after Dellin Betances blew the 2-1 run lead in the seventh. It was a dumb rally. Hit batsman, move to second on a wild pitch, soft line drive just over a leaping Brian Roberts. Dumb. Then, in the eighth, the Yankees hit three Yankee Stadium homers and were left with a Jeter ground rule double to show for it. Gardner hit two balls that would have been gone in the Bronx and Jeter’s double would have been out as well. Ellsbury came through with a big two-strike single to plate Jeter and again give the Yankees the lead.
- Six More Outs: Once the Yankees got that 3-2 lead, Joe Girardi turned the game over the Adam Warren and David Robertson, who combined to retire six of eight batters faced. Warren allowed a single to Robinson Cano but otherwise cut through the heart of Seattle’s lineup. Robertson issued a two-out walk while striking out the side and recording his 15th save. With Shawn Kelley set to come off the DL on Wednesday, the late-inning guys are going to get some much-needed help and extra rest going forward.
- Leftovers: In addition to the go-ahead single, Ellsbury hit the ball on the screws in two other at-bats, but right at defenders … Jeter may or may not have missed first base on his ground rule double. He went back to touch the base and I’m not sure he gets to second without the ball hopping over the fence … Beltran had two hits (both to the opposite field) and generally seems to be getting more comfortable at the plate following the long DL stint … each of the top six hitters in the lineup had at least one hit while the bottom three hitters went a combined 0-for-9 with a walk.
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. These same two teams will play the second game of this three-game set on Wednesday night, when Masahiro Tanaka starts against the soft-tossing yet effective Chris Young.