Game 137: CHW vs. NYY — Rain always changes things… sort of

So all day in New York, the weather has been threatening — cloudy, humid, a little steamy, minor drizzling, tarp on the field. But no, the game started on time, and starter Phil Hughes looked as if he might have a great day against the slumping Chicago White Sox. His first inning was a 1-2-3 quick 10 pitch one, and he was 1 out, 3 batters, and 2 strikes into the 2nd inning when the rain began to pour as the fans in the half-empty stadium began running for cover.

This was a shame because things were starting to roll for the Yankees. At the bottom of the 1st inning, the Yankees struck first with a ground-rule double by Brett Gardner, who was knocked in by Derek Jeter’s single and a fielding error by the left fielder. Gardner scored the first run, and Jeter landed at 2nd, advancing to 3rd on Cano’s fly out.

And then it rained. For one hour and 53 minutes.

The tarp came off the field, Hughes’ day done, and David Huff on the mound, finishing the final pitch of that one batter and closing out the inning unscathed. Actually, Huff proved a reliable long-term reliever in the bullpen, something that seemed non-existent yesterday. He allowed 5 hits, struck out 3 Chicago batters, and a single run (a solo home run in the 7th inning).

But it was the 4th inning that was the ultimate game changer for the game. Borrowing a page from the Orioles’ game yesterday, the Yankees racked up a whopping 8 additional runs in the 4th inning alone. Yes, that’s right — 8 runs. 13 batters in that inning for the Yankees, 7 hits, 2 walks, 2 errors, and 3 outs (finally).

Here’s what happened: Alex Rodriguez doubled; Vernon Wells singled; Curtis Granderson walks to load the bases; Mark Reynolds singles home Rodriguez (2-0), keeping the bases loaded; Austin Romine’s single scores both Wells and Granderson (4-0); Gardner doubles (he is turning into the king of doubles this year) and scores Reynolds (5-0); Jeter’s 2nd single of the game scores Romine (6-0); Cano pops out in the infield; Alfonso Soriano doubles home Gardner (7-0); Rodriguez (back again) walks, loading the bases (and the White Sox incur an error on a missed catch foul pop up); the White Sox finally make a pitching change; Wells reaches on a force attempt and throwing error, which scores both Jeter and Soriano (9-0); then back-to-back force outs to finally get those last two outs, mercifully ending the inning for the White Sox.

After the Sox put one on the board in the 7th, the game sat at 9-1, gliding gracefully into the 9th inning, under clear, sunny blue skies. By the way, to end the 7th, it’s Robinson Cano to show off some nifty defensive skills, hustling out to mid-center field to catch a fly ball and then almost sideways throwing the ball back to first to get the runner who doubled off the base — a fun and unique double play.

Cesar Cabral, a recent September call-up, came in for Huff (who ended up with the win) in the 8th to throw his 13 pitches. The field shifted around in the bottom of the 8th for the Yankees with such a cushy lead, and it was Adam Warren to close out the game in the 9th.

Nunez, Ichiro, Overbay, and Adams all grabbed some playing time at the end of the game. And today was JR Murphy’s MLB debut, and in front of his family, he hit a nice single and got on base. Then Ichiro’s 13 pitch at-bat had him running to 2nd and jogging back to 1st on 6 foul balls. Unfortunately, Ichiro’s 13th pitch ball landed in the right fielder’s glove for the 3rd out, so Murphy will have to wait for another game to score his first MLB run. Murphy now serves as the 3rd catcher, behind Stewart and Romine, due to the September call-ups. A big congrats to him, and welcome to the big leagues.

But it was a nice win today, in spite of the smooth then rocky (because of the rain) start. A great way to start this series, and another much-needed win. Well, actually, at this point in the season, every win is very much needed for the Yankees. And every win they collect helps inch them closer to that ultimate goal — nope, not the postseason, the World Series.

Hey, you never know!

Go Yankees!

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