Donning camo-colored hats and other camo-touched parts of their uniforms, the Yankees and Cardinals honored past and current veterans on this Memorial Day in St. Louis. The skies and forecast threatened to interrupt, even causing a one hour rain delay before the first pitch was thrown. But the sold-out crowd joined the two long-storied franchises to play an American past time on a day of remembrance and honor.
Chase Whitley was given the start to today’s game, and overall, gave another outstanding performance for only his second major league start — 91 pitches over 5 innings (and 3 batters in the 6th), 8 hits, 3 runs, no walks, and 2 strikeouts. He bookended his outing with some trouble. He seemed a little hesitant in the 1st, allowing a lead-off tripe to score on an RBI double. But he quickly buckled down and pushed through. In the bottom of the 6th, his first 3 batters loaded the bases with a double, single, and hit by pitch. So they turned to Preston Claiborne to get out of the inning. Unfortunately, the first two runners went on to score on a force out and a sacrifice fly.
In the mean time, the Yankees racked up their own 3 runs against the Cardinals, against one of their better pitchers too. In the 1st inning, Gardner led off with a walk and went on to score on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. Then in the 5th, Ichiro also led off with a walk and scored on Kelly Johnson’s single, and then Roberts on base with his own single would score on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly.
The Yankees and Cardinals sat at that 3-3 tie into the 12th inning. Claiborne came back in the 7th for an out, Thornton grabbed those last 2 in the 7th, and it was Dellin Betances again to grab the 8th and 9th innings. As the game rolled over into extra innings, the Yankees called on Alfredo Aceves for the 10th and 11th innings.
So when the Yankees suddenly decided to attack offensively in the 12th, Aceves was on tap for the win today. Ellsbury led off with yet another walk, McCann was hit by a pitch, and Ichiro Suzuki was intentionally walked to load the bases. The Cardinals would soon realize their mistake as Brian Roberts’ single scored Ellsbury and kept the bases loaded. Alfonso Soriano’s sacrifice fly scored McCann, and Brendan Ryan’s single scored Ichiro easily. And the Yankees were up 6-3. (As the mass horde of Cardinals fans started giving up on what was turning out to be a long day at Busch Stadium and began heading to the exits in anticipation of the loss.)
They would miss David Robertson’s 12th save opportunity (and 11th save), and they would miss an RBI double planting the score at 6-4 Yankees, despite a decent rally attempt by the Cards.
Prior to today’s ceremony (and before the hour-long rain delay), the Cardinals celebrated the 50th anniversary of their 1964 World Series championship team, including inviting those on that team honored for their contribution to Cardinals’ history to take the field. (If you can’t figure it out, the Yankees were their opponent for the ’64 Series, when the Cards won it in 7 very close games.) As part of that opening, members of the ’64 team threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Then Cardinal legend, shortstop, and Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith, on behalf of the Cardinals organization, presented Derek Jeter with Stan Musial cuff links and a $10,000 check to Turn 2 Foundation. The Musial comparisons to Jeter are quite appropriate — the great player who stayed with one team for his entire career and played the game the right way.
And again, I want to thank all the veterans and current military personnel for your sacrifice and service. And a special thank you to the friends and family of veterans, who support and love those who do so much for people they may never meet for the sake of God and country. Take a moment this week to show your support, thank a vet, or donate your time or money to an organization for veterans.