Start spreading the news – the Yankees went from being shut out to hitting home runs late in the game to win this one 5-2 over the Angels. It looked like Masahiro Tanaka‘s strong seven inning effort was going to be wasted, but a pair of big solo HR’s in the seventh tied it up. Later, Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer to put the Yanks ahead for good.
Tanaka = Good
So, Tanaka has been good this season. Here’s a little bit of factiod from our own Katie Sharp: Tanaka is tied for second with Madison Bumgarner for most starts with 2 ER or less allowed in a game with ten. Who’s first? Clayton Kershaw (11). Tanaka may not be the 95-mph throwing fireballer anymore (but Brooks Baseball did have a pitch clocked at 95.3 mph so there’s that) but you know what, as long as he gets the hitters out, it’s not a concern at all. Overall, he threw 7 innings of 2 ER ball and struck out three. Solid, not sexy, but he gave the team a chance to win.
Tanaka allowed the first run in the top of first. Yunel Escobar singled on the very first pitch of the game and advanced to second and third on two different fly outs. With two outs, Albert Pujols hit a soft single to center to drive Escobar in for a 1-0 Angels. They increased their lead to 2-0 in the third when Kole Calhoun drove Gregorio Petit in with a sac fly. Fortunately for the Yanks, that was the only damage Tanaka allowed in his seven inning outing. However, it looked likely that he was in line for the loss because of Matt Shoemaker’s pitching.
En Route to a Maddux?
The Yankee offense was pretty bad for first six innings. We are not talking about bad RISP numbers like they put up yesterday. They just weren’t getting on base much. Matt Shoemaker, who hasn’t been going through his best season (5.50 ERA in 10 starts), seemed to pitch with some chip on the shoulder, averaging 93.1 mph with his four seamer (topping out at 95.3 mph), a bump above the usual.
For a good chunk of the game, it seemed like Shoemaker was on his way to throw a Maddux (a CGSO with less than 100 pitches). Through the first six innings, he had allowed only one baserunner in scoring position and threw 59 pitches. I gripe about the RISP in Yankee losses often but tonight, I felt like I wouldn’t even have the figure to write on.
The Yankees did have two instances early on with chance to put the runner on second. In the first inning, Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and attempted to steal second. The 2B ump Clint Fagan initially ruled him out but Joe Girardi challenged the call. The replays showed that it did seem as if Ellsbury was safe but umps disagreed – they stood by Fagan’s call.
In the bottom of second, Starlin Castro hit a fly ball that LF Rafael Ortega barely failed to make a diving catch on. However, Ortega got up quickly and made a throw to second right away, catching Castro out trying to stretch the double into a single. Shoemaker went on to retire 11 straight batters until the Ellsbury double in the sixth with two outs (which they failed to score on). However, the game doesn’t end until the ninth…
Late Inning Dingers
Shoemaker had gotten first two hitters of the seventh out and had only 67 pitches thrown when Brian McCann stepped up to the plate. On a 3-1 count, McCann hit a gigantic foul ball that just twisted away from the right field foul pole, missing a home run by not much. On the next pitch, McCann didn’t miss it. He put the ball right up the luxury suites – in fair territory – for a solo home run. The Yankees trailed by one and that didn’t last long at all.
The next batter, Castro, he second pitch of the at-bat way deep into the left field seats. And, just like that, the game was tied in a mere three pitches. I don’t know when was the last time the Yankees took charge offensively and changed the game around this quick. The two solo HR’s made it a brand new ballgame and the momentum probably shifted towards Yanks’ side.
With 80 pitches thrown, Shoemaker came back to start out the bottom of the eighth. After striking out Chase Headley on three pitches and grounding out Aaron Hicks, he allowed back-to-back singles to Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to create a two out, runners in corners situation. The Angels pulled him out for lefty Jose Alvarez. Up to the plate: Carlos Beltran.
On a 0-1 count, Beltran got a 91 mph fastball out over the plate – it didn’t look like the spot that Alvarez wanted to locate. What do talented ML hitters do with a mistake pitch? Crush it. Beltran squared up on the ball and took it over the right field fence for a go-ahead, three-run home run. 5-2 Yankees. This was a certainly refreshing sight considering how much the offense seemed incompetent for the most of the game. Aroldis Chapman closed the door in the ninth.
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