The Yankees beat the Rays 5-3 tonight, behind the power of three home runs, two by DH Raul Ibanez and one by Curtis Granderson, and a (mostly) strong start by Ivan Nova. Tonight’s game also featured a save by David Robertson, the first Yankee save since Mariano Rivera‘s knee injury. Let’s start with that story, shall we?
Robertson started the 9th inning easily enough, getting a grounder off of Jeff Keppinger‘s bat. Will Rhymes followed with a walk and Sean Rodriguez subsequently singled. The Rays sent up Brandon Allen to pinch hit aN. Robertson punched him out before issuing a walk to Ben Zobrist to load the bases for the powerful Yankee killer Carlos Pena. Robertson ended the game by striking Pena out on a 2-2 fastball on the outside corner. Much will be made of the fact that Robertson loaded the bases here due to the pressure of the 9th inning, but let’s be real here, people: David Robertson just tends to put people on base. This situation could’ve just as likely happened in the 8th. And while Robertson got the save in the record books, this game was more definitively saved by the left arm of Nick Swisher in the top of the 7th.
Matt Joyce led off the 7th by flying out to deep right field, just missing a pitch. Luke Scott came up next and hit a fly ball to right that he thought he missed, but it ended up going just over the wall in right for a home run. Even Scott was surprised by this homer. After Scott’s homer, Keppinger walked and Will Rhymes doubled down the right field line, a ball that was sure to plate the tying run. However, Swisher moved to the ball well and with a quick release, made a strong throw towards the infield that froze Keppinger at third. On the very next batter, Swisher was tested again. Sean Rodriguez lined a ball out to right and, again, a strong throw by Swisher kept the runner at third. Nova ended the inning, and his night, by striking out Jose Molina, who had homered earlier in the game for the Rays’ first run. The strikeout was Nova’s 8th, matching his season high.
Ibanez HR (2 R) in the 4th
Granderson HR in the 5th
Ibanez HR in the 7th
Teixeira 2B in the 8th (Alex Rodriguez scored)–a note on this play: Tampa manager Joe Maddon removed lefty Jake McGee who gave up a stinging hit to A-Rod and replaced McGee with righty Joel Peralta to face Tex. Considering how Tex has hit righties this year, that’s definitely the right call. Thankfully, Tex was able to make Maddon pay (what an inning–an A-Rod hit vs. a lefty and a Tex hit vs. a righty? Bizzaro baseball!)
Molina HR in the 6th
Scott HR in the 7th
Zobrist scored on a wild pitch in the 8th
–Keppinger and Rhymes were 3-6 with 2 walks. Ugh.
–Every Yankee starter except Swisher had at least one hit.
–All three of Rafael Soriano‘s strikeouts came via the slider.
–Carlos Pena was 0-5 with 4 strikeouts. His other AB? A 3-6-3 double play. Worst possible game for a batter? Oh and he also left 6 on base.
–Ivan Nova has now given up 8 home runs; he gave up 13 all of last year.
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