Some games I can just tell when they’re going to be good. Not the ones that get handed away, or the ones that steam roll over the opponent, or the ones that are so unevenly matched that it’s embarrassing. No, this game felt like it was going to be a good game. And the Yankees and Angels delivered.
Hiroki Kuroda took the mound to start tonight’s game and gave a very strong outing — 108 pitches over 7.2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs (only 1 earned run), and striking out 8 batters. In fact, Kuroda had just 2 weak innings. In the 3rd, he allowed a single and a sacrifice bunt (and throwing error) each to score on sacrifice flies.
The Yankees didn’t answer back offensively until the 5th inning. Solarte singled, Gardner singled, Roberts singled home Solarte, and Ellsbury grounded into a double play while Gardner scored the tying run. Then in the 8th, Jeter was hit by a pitch and made it all the way to 3rd on Beltran’s single. Then Teixeira’s dribbler to 3rd caught Jeter in a rundown where he was tagged out trying to score. But then Alfonso Soriano’s single had Beltran sliding in for the go-ahead run, pushing the Yankees up 3-2.
But Kuroda’s next bit of trouble came in the bottom of that 8th inning. With 2 outs, Kuroda allowed a triple. And with another great power-hitter coming up to bat and Kuroda over 100 pitches, the Yankees went to Shawn Kelley to get out of the jam. Except he gave up an RBI single and suddenly the game was tied again. Kelley had blown the save.
But no, the game was still not over. And the lot fell to Brian Roberts to save the day with his first Yankee home run deep in the right field seats. (This makes Jeter the only starter to still not have a home run this season.) Now, because Kelley was on the mound previously, he actually recorded the win, despite Kuroda’s amazing outing. David Robertson’s 13-pitch 9th inning sealed the save, and delivered the win to the Yankees tonight.
Roster moves: Michael Pineda came off his suspension and was transferred to the 15-day DL, though as of right now, he’s not scheduled to return from his back injury until later this month. In his place, Brendan Ryan was activated. Also, fans of 2013’s Spring Training may remember Ronnier Mustelier. The often injury-plagued infielder has been released from his minor league contract.
Like I said, tonight’s game just felt like it was going to be a well-earned win, no matter who won, because both teams seemed bursting with great pitching and both offenses seemed to be rather chomping at the bit, waiting for a weakness. It was just one of those games, from start to finish. And now, the pressure is left to the Captain as his fans await that first home run of his final season.
Also, tomorrow will be Jeter’s last game in Anaheim. I would expect some kind of ceremony prior to tomorrow’s game, despite the fact that Jeter has made it clear that this isn’t a “farewell tour” (like Rivera’s was dubbed last year), but rather a regular season with some nice perks and gifts. And so far, he’s been right. But then again, it’s still just the beginning of May and there’s quite a bit of the season left to play.