The All-Star break can not come soon enough for the bullpen. The Yankees jumped out to an early 9-0 lead against the Twins on Sunday afternoon, but Minnesota slowly chipped away, and before you knew it, the tying run was on base. Thankfully, New York still managed to walk away with a 9-7 win, taking three of four in Target Field. Let’s recap the nail-biter:
- Nope-lasco: The Yankees destroyed Ricky Nolasco. He faced 13 batters, put eight on base, and allowed six runs in two innings of work. One of the outs was a great jumping catch by Sam Fuld at the wall, another was an out at the plate when Mark Teixeira ran through a stop sign. The big blow was Jacoby Ellsbury’s three-run homer in the second inning. Nolasco was fooling no one. They were all over him.
- Hiroki Why: The lead swelled to 9-0 in the third inning, but Hiroki Kuroda gave four runs back (two on a Chris Colabello homer) in the bottom half of the inning to make the came uncomfortably close-ish. He did not allow any more runs, he failed to complete six full innings of work after being staked to a nine-run lead. That really sucks, especially with the bullpen running on fumes. Kuroda allowed the four runs on seven hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. Yuck.
- Chipped Away: The Twins managed to score seven unanswered runs between the fourth and ninth innings. Adam Warren allowed a run (infield single, single, ground out) in 1.1 innings of work, Jim Miller allowed a run (solo homer) in an inning of work, and David Robertson (single, single single) allowed a run in his inning of work. The Twins had men on the corners and the go-ahead run at the plate when Robertson got Kurt Suzuki to ground out for the final out. Like I said before, these relievers need the All-Star break in the worst way.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 3-for-4 and recorded his 3,400th career hit … every starter reached base at least once except Carlos Beltran and they all had a hit except Beltran and Brett Gardner (two walks) … Jeter, Ellsbury (two), Teixeira (two), Ichiro Suzuki (three), and Kelly Johnson (two) all had multiple hits … Ichiro had the team’s only strikeout (Twins!) and Gardner had the only walks, so make it nine times in the last ten games that they’ve been held to two walks or less … despite allowing nine runs and 16 base-runners, four Twins pitchers combined to throw only 138 pitches. Four Yankees pitchers threw 166.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles beat the Red Sox, so the Yankees are still 3.5 games back of both the AL East lead and the second wildcard spot. The Bombers are now off to Cleveland for a four-game series with the Indians. Shane Greene will get the call to make a spot start necessitated by the Brandon McCarthy/Vidal Nuno trade in the series opener on Monday. Justin Masterson will be on the bump for Cleveland.