|Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images|
Yankees 3, A’s 2…
The Yankees didn’t get much offense on Saturday, but thanks to the rejuvenated CC Sabathia (5-2), they didn’t need it.
In the first inning, they scratched out a run through a walk, hit by pitch, wild pitch, and sacrifice fly (by Starlin Castro). By the time Oakland’s Ryon Healy doubled in the sixth inning to tie the score, the Yankees were still searching for their first hit against A’s starter Jharel Cotton.
CC was pitching great but I did have a heart attack in the top of the sixth with two outs when Trevor Plouffe sharply hit a fly to right. Starlin Castro, on the run, appeared to catch the ball but it bounced out of his glove. Alertly, a running Aaron Judge was in the right spot at the right time and made the catch to end the inning.
|Credit: Paul J Bereswill|
Cotton, who entered the game with a 5.68 ERA, pitched liked an ace. Despite a walk to Brett Gardner in the third (subsequently erased when he tried to steal second), Cotton was cruising from the second inning through the fifth, with three up-three down each frame. It was more of the same to start the sixth as Cotton recorded two quick outs on fly balls.
Then, the walk raised its ugly head for Cotton again when he gave Gary Sanchez a free pass. Matt Holliday came to the plate, with two outs and no team hits showing on the scoreboard. After a first pitch ball (low and inside), Holliday got a hold of Cotton’s second offering and launched a blast to left-center. “High fly ball, left field…going back Davis. Track, wall, SEE YA!” (courtesy of Michael Kay of the YES Network).
After giving up a single to the next batter (Castro), Cotton was done even though he had allowed the only two hits the Yankees would get in this game. Cotton pitched his heart out in his 13th major league game and recorded a career high 107 pitches, but like Masahiro Tanaka found out the other night, Baseball can be a cruel sport.
CC tired in the seventh when, with one out, he gave up a homer to Josh Phegley, to bring the score to 3-2 Yanks, and a double by Adam Rosales. Time to turn to the Yankees bullpen which had ignited an A’s rally the night before. Fortunately, Adam Warren got Matt Joyce on a groundout and left Rosales stranded at third when he struck out Mark Canha.
The eighth inning brought Tyler Clippard into the game. With the disaster of the night before fresh on everyone’s mind, Clippard struck out the first batter, Jed Lowrie. Lowrie, who seems to rise to the occasion against the Yanks, was subsequently ejected for arguing strikes. At that point, the Friday night version of Clippard reappeared. A walk to Khris Davis and a double by Ryon Healy put runners at second and third with just one out. Exit Clippard, and enter Dellin Betances. Ball, called strike, foul, called strike…inning over. Hey Randy Levine, stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.
|Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports|
In the ninth inning, it was three up and three down for Betances, with a swinging strikeout by Matt Joyce to end the game.
Cut to Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York”…ah, I love that song on winning days.
With the win, the Yankees (28-18) held their two-game lead in the AL East over the Boston Red Sox. The Sox beat the Seattle Mariners again. The scary part is that the complete game shut-out was by a rookie pitcher, Brian Johnson, making his first career start at Fenway Park. Johnson was optioned back to AAA after the game but he’s making the way for the return of David Price who will be activated from the DL this week. The Baltimore Orioles lost their sixth game in a row to slide 3 1/2 games back.
Tyler Austin was elevated to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday with his rehab assignment. On Saturday, he contributed a run-scoring single to help the RailRiders defeat the Toledo Mud Hens, 5-1. Gleyber Torres was 1-for-5 with a double, driving in a run.
Greg Bird departs for Tampa today. He’ll most likely take a few at-bats in extended spring training at the Yankees’ minor-league complex on Tuesday and Wednesday before beginning his rehab assignment. He spoke of muscle soreness yesterday (typical soreness after not using certain muscles) but otherwise everything seems to be moving forward with his progress.
Also progressing is closer Aroldis Chapman who must have received favorable news from the doctor on Saturday as he was able to make 25 throws from 60 feet. He’ll continue with playing catch on Sunday as he begins his preparation for hopefully a mid-June return.
Speaking of Chapman, I am hopeful that he’ll be activated during the Yankees road trip to California when the Yankees travel to Oakland on June 15th. I really want to see a rematch between Chapman and the A’s Rajai Davis. Davis had the game-tying home run off Chapman in Game 7 of last year’s World Series. I want to see Chapman punch out Davis to win a game as retribution. Hey, I am not a vindictive person…just competitive.
Have a great Sunday! Let’s win again while Chase Headley continues to sit…