A crisply pitched 3-1 game by Mike Pelfrey quickly snowballed into a nightmare for the Mets in the 7th inning, as the Yankees — who up to that point had put men on in 5 of the previous six innings against Pelfrey but failed to capitalize — finally came through with men on base in a big way, loading the bases with no outs en route to what would be an eight-run outburst, their most productive frame of the season, and ultimately coming back to beat the Mets 9-3.
I don’t blame the Mets for sticking with Pelfrey (though I imagine some Mets bloggers might), given that he never put more than one Yankee on in any prior inning and the only blemish on his day had been a Curtis Granderson solo shot in the first that put the Bombers up 1-0. However, a Brett Gardner single up the middle, a big Chris Dickerson walk and a Francisco Cervelli hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Derek Jeter. That HBP was costly to the Mets, as it brought the Yankees’ WE over 50%. Jeter came through with the biggest hit of the game, a two-run single up the middle (.186 WPA) that tied things up at three with no out.
After an eyebrow-raising Granderson sac bunt to put the go-ahead run in scoring position — stepping back for a moment, if it were anyone but the Yankees’ 2-5 hitters I can probably get behind that play, but bunting with the man who has the second-most home runs in Major League Baseball and already hit a bomb earlier in the game seemed rather unfortunate; thankfully it didn’t wind up being costly (.003 WPA) — Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked to load the bases for Alex Rodriguez. We all know how that tends to go, although instead of launching a mammoth blast, A-Rod hit a dribbler up the third-base side that plated the go-ahead run and wound up being his third of four hits on the day. This was actually Alex’s second four-hit game this week, so hopefully he’s back for good now. Robinson Cano added an RBI single, Brett Gardner an RBI double and Chris Dickerson an RBI single (Dickerson also had a pretty double leading off the 5th but was stranded). After all was said and done the Yankees sent 13 men to the plate in their eight-run seventh, and all eight runs were scored without the benefit of the long-ball.
For his part Ivan Nova managed to keep the Yankees in the game despite nearly coming undone on the Mets’ three-run second inning. Nova went 6 2/3 and managed to limit the damage to those three runs, while walking one and striking out two. Nova’s relative inability to strike batters out continues to make me wonder how long he’ll be able to maintain this level of effectiveness, but he’s actually been pretty dependable during the past month, save the fiasco against the Royals on May 12. It certainly helps when you pick up 12 of your 20 outs on the ground. As we’ve noted several times on the blog before, Nova’s 2011 has been something of a Chien-Ming Wang Lite (Nova’s seasonal GB% is 51%; during Wang’s 2005-2007 heyday he put up a 61.5% GB%, third-best in the Majors during that time period), and if he can continue to build on his ground-ball tendencies, perhaps he’ll be able to continue to get by despite a lack of overpowering stuff. Also, gold stars for Luis Ayala — who’s rather quietly been surprisingly good out of the ‘pen thus far — and Lance Pendleton, who combined for 2 1/3 perfect innings.
Every win is big, but this one in particular felt really great, given that the Yankees really had no business losing two of three to the Mets at home, as well as the fact that a lack of timely hitting has sunk the team on numerous occasions in May. The Yanks get to face the Toronto Jose Bautistas at home for three this week (with a day off on Thursday) before heading out for their first west-coast jaunt of the season Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately for the Yanks they’ll have their work cut out for them when they get to Seattle, as rookie phenom Michael Pineda is slated to go Friday night, while Felix Hernandez — Owner and Sole Proprietor of The New York Yankees Major League Baseball franchise since 2005 — toes the rubber for the Mariners on Saturday (though the other members of Seattle’s rotation haven’t exactly been slouches, either).
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees