Tonight could have been devastating. The Yankees could have potentially lost their AL East lead, and further, been swept by the Rays. Alas, the Yankees won and the Orioles lost, a great night compared to what we’ve been accustomed to lately.
Something had to go right to create a win tonight, and Hiroki Kuroda didn’t have that answer. Tonight’s starting pitcher gave up an early lead in the first inning off an Evan Longoria RBI groundball single. The Yankees were able to score some runs to retake the lead in the 4th inning, but Kuroda couldn’t hold the lead in the fifth. Then the Yankees gave him the lead in the sixth inning, and Kuroda couldn’t hold the lead in the sixth. The boxscore isn’t brutal, but that he gave up two leads is certainly suspect. In total he went 6.0 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, and only drew 3 strikeouts.
Thankfully, the offense sorta woke up tonight. Both Derek Jeter and Russell Martin took advantage of Ray’s starter Matt Moore. In the fourth inning, Jeter lead off the inning with a single, which was followed up by a walk from Robinson Cano, an RBI double from Alex Rodriguez, and finally a huge 2 RBI double from Russell Martin. The game was 3-1 Yankees, and as I mentioned, Kuroda blew this lead. It was Russell Martin again who had the go-ahead RBI, a homerun off Moore in the 6th.
After the Ray’s starter was pulled, Jeter was already 3 for 3, and although he didn’t earn another hit, he contributed to one of the biggest moments of the game. With men on second and third, the score 4-4 in the 7th, with one out, Jeter hit a ball to second baseman Elliot Johnson, who then tried to throw Ichiro Suzuki out at the plate. Only Johnson threw the ball away, and the Yankees scored the two go-ahead runs they’d need to win this game.
The bullpen was stellar for the second day in a row. The biggest issue was the seventh inning, when Logan struck out two and left a runner at first for David Robertson. The setup man allowed a single to Evan Longoria, but finished the inning unscathed. He returned in the 8th for a perfect inning. Soriano also made an appearance, and was perfect through the 9th.
For a game where the Yankees lost the lead twice, it was probably the most relaxing game over the last week. The team has regained sole possession of the AL East. Hopefully this sparks a win streak as they enter a big four game series against the Orioles in Baltimore tomorrow.
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