After dropping two in the Marlins Park, Yankees took the first game in the Yankee Stadium portion of the four-game series on Wednesday night. Michael Pineda pitched one of the best games of the year and Dellin Betances recorded a save, and, believe it or not, the game was actually more stressful to watch than that information would lead you to believe.
In his previous outing, we saw one of Pineda’s worst starts in pinstripes. Tonight, we saw one of his best. It was also one of the best Yankee starter efforts of the season – only a day after one of the worst (or probably just the worst). So many recent ups and downs!
As you know, Pineda flirted with no-hitter for most of the time he pitched. In fact, for the first four innings, he was perfect. By the end of fourth, he had struck out six and the only real hard hit ball he gave up was a liner hit by Ichiro Suzuki that went right into Didi Gregorius‘s glove.
He allowed his first baserunner on a walk to Christian Yelich in the fourth inning. The next inning, Pineda walked Justin Bour. Both walks came on a 3-2 count so it wasn’t like he was wildly missing the glove. But, going into the seventh inning, he still had not allowed any hits.
On the pitch No. 95, the first pitch of the seventh inning, Christian Yelich drove a pitch right down the middle to right-center for a home run, breaking the no-hitter. It was a cutter that broke towards middle of the plate and Yelich didn’t miss it. No-No Mike was no more but he was still the same ol’ Big Mike.
Pineda got the next two hitters – Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna – out and his pitch count reached 100. Joe Girardi pulled him out and Big Mike was obviously not too happy with it, but what can you do. Pineda went 6.2 IP, allowed only a hit and an earned run and two walks while striking out nine, good for a solid 75 game score.
2,996 and 2,997
In the first inning, Yankees had a RISP chance with two outs when Chase Headley got on second base after being hit by a pitch. A-Rod came up and hit the fourth pitch of the at-bat to the center for an RBI single. 1-0 Yankees and hit number 2,996 for A-Rod.
A-Rod did not stop there. In the fifth, with two outs and runner on first, he turned it loose on a 3-0 count and looped a single to center field. Hit number 2,997! With bases loaded, Carlos Beltran hit a single to center, scoring Chase Headley to make it 2-0. A-Rod also tried to make it to home plate but Ozuna’s strong throw got him.
Besides those two hits, Rodriguez also had a walk and an intentional walk. Given that the Yankees will play next seven games in Bronx, I guess he’ll be hitting No. 3,000 at home.
Yankees brought in Justin Wilson to start the eighth. He got Jeff Mathis to fly out. Adeiny Hechavarria walked and Ichiro followed it up with a single, setting the Marlins up with one out and runners in the corners. Girardi then brought in Betances to get out of the situation. Dellin had to face one of the best contact hitters in baseball for the first assignment: Dee Gordon.
On the second pitch, Gordon grounded one to first base. Garrett Jones, instead of trying for a double play, threw home to get the lead runner out. But his throw to Brian McCann was high and it seemed like Hechavarria just slid under the tag to be safe – well, at least that’s what it initially seemed like to the umpires.
The replays showed that Hechavarria was probably out but was it enough to overturn the call? Yes. It became two outs with runners on first and second … and the Yankees still leading 2-1. Huge. Betances worked out of a jam when Derek Dietrich lined out to Beltran on a first pitch swing.
Betances retired Yelich to start the ninth. And then, it was a matchup versus Stanton. Betances versus Stanton! Power versus power! Dellin threw three nasty curves/slurves/whatever thing that drops like death to strike out the Marlins outfielder.
Marcell Ozuna hit a 2-out single to keep the Marlins alive and Justin Bour made things a bit tense by working a walk. However, Betances struck out Jeff Mathis to end the game. Things didn’t have to be on the edge so many times in the game! But it was. At least the Yankees and Big Mike got the win and Betances got the save.
Just like the past few days, there were some RISPFails going on tonight. The offense was 2-for-8 in RISP situations and the most painful moment of all was purely by lack of luck.
In the bottom seventh, the Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs. Garrett Jones, facing the lefty Brad Hand, hit one in the screws to right but got robbed by a diving 1B Justin Bour. That would have made the game 4-1 to Yankees’ favor. Oh well.
Box score, standings, highlights and WPA
One thing is clear, Yankees are not being swept by the Marlins. Tomorrow, New York looks to even up the series with C.C. Sabathia taking the mound versus Mat Latos.