Four straight wins! It’s been a while since they’ve done that. Almost exactly a month, in fact. Since the Mets and Pirates series. The Yankees rode a quality pitching performance and some well-timed base hits to a 7-0 win over the powerhouse Athletics in the first game of their weekend series on Friday night. Let’s recap the dubya:
- Strike First: Early runs have become something of a habit on this road trip. I approve. Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, and Jacoby Ellsbury opened the game with three straight singles for a quick 1-0 lead, then Mark Teixeira followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Just like that, boom boom boom (boom), the Yankees had the lead. A single (Brian Roberts), a walk (Kelly Johnson), and another single (Gardner) led to the team’s third run an inning later. Six of the first ten men they sent to the plate reached base against Sonny Gray.
- Two-Hit Wonder: David Phelps had some early breathing room, and he must have been real comfortable because he carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Derek Norris broke it up with a single to left. Phelps allowed a double to Jed Lowrie in the seventh to end his night. His final line: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Very, very nice. I thought it was the best he looked all season both stuff and location wise. The Yankees have been getting some very good starting pitching of late and Phelps kept it going Friday.
- Strike Second: Tack-on runs? What is this sorcery? The Yankees scored … ready for this? … four runs in the eighth inning to make a comfortable lead a really comfortable lead. All four runs were driven in with two outs too. Ichiro Suzuki (infield single), Roberts (single), and Johnson (single) had the key hits. These late extra runs are something the club has not been able to get at all this year. It was refreshing to watch the rally unfold.
- Leftovers: Ellsbury’s first inning single extended his hitting streak to 17 games. That’s the longest by a Yankee since Robinson Cano in 2012 (23 games) … Dellin Betances and Jose Ramirez combined to record the final seven outs (three strikeouts). Hooray for homegrown arms. Include Phelps in that too … Carlos Beltran was the only starter without a hit while Gardner, Jeter, Ichiro, and Roberts all had two apiece … the 12 hits were the team’s most since the middle game of the Twins series at the end of last month. They went 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some additional stats and ESPN has the updated standings. These same two teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday night — yes, a 10pm ET start on a Saturday. I can’t wait for California to break off and sink into the ocean — when veterans Hiroki Kuroda and Scott Kazmir get the ball