The Yankees managed to load the bases in the ninth against Royals closer Joakim Soria, making the righty throw 40 pitches and scoring a run in the process, but Jorge Posada struck out looking with the bases loaded — on what should have been ball three — to dash the team’s comeback hopes as the Yankees lost 5-4. In the immediate aftermath I was annoyed that Posada went down looking to end the game, but I suppose it’s tough to fault him too severely given that Brooks shows that the pitch was clearly a ball.
Regardless, it was rather unfortunate the Yankees even had to attempt to mount their third comeback in three games to begin with, as they received a third straight mediocre starting pitching performance, this time courtesy of Bartolo Colon. Colon got hit hard — giving up five runs on seven hits, four of which went for extra bases — in only five innings.
Colon has clearly been a markedly different pitcher since returning from the disabled list, giving neither length nor pitching all that effectively. He’s only gotten into the 7th inning three times in the 10 starts he’s made since he’s been back, and has a 4.27 ERA in his last 46.1 innings. That’s certainly not awful, but it’s also not the Colon who had a 2.96 ERA over 67 innings in his first 10 starts of the year, either.
Colon was handed a two-run lead but gave it all back and then some on an Alex Gordon three-run jack in the third, and the Royals finally managed to hold onto a lead. After actually having some success with the tough Royal bullpen in the first two games, the Yankees finally got to see the Royals’ “we have a lead” relievers, and were promptly smoked by Louis Coleman — who struck out the side after the first two men reached base with no out (and got six swinging strikes on 24 total pitches!)– and Greg Holland.
Earlier in the game, the Yankees seemed poised to break this one open against lefthanded junkball artist extraordinaire Bruce Chen, who needed 33 pitches to get through the first inning, but managed to recover and give the Royals 6 innings. These things happen, even against pitchers like Chen, but it’s still pretty frustrating that they worked him over so badly in the 1st and more or less let him off the hook.
In addition to the questionable strike zone, this game also featured a solo home run by Billy Butler that appeared to be a double on replay. The umpiring staff ended up reviewing it, but the call was upheld. I don’t know what the ground rules are in Kansas City, but if a ball hitting the top of the wall, not clearing a fence of any kind and bouncing back onto the playing field is a home run in KC, then I guess it’s a home run.
And finally, kudos to Hector Noesi, who got his first game action in seemingly forever and didn’t let the rust show, throwing three scoreless innings and only allowing a hit and a walk. And huge props to the Yankee bullpen, who only allowed one run in 10 innings of work in this series.
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