Game 54: MIN vs. NYY — Rollercoaster game, rollercoaster weather

Cloudy, sunny, cloud, rainy, downpour, cloudy, sunny, game over. No, seriously. There’s an old joke that if you don’t like the weather, just hang around for five minutes and it will change. Today at Yankee Stadium, this was the case. In fact, it rained so hard in the 8th inning, they rushed out the tarp and had about 30 minutes of a rain delay. But it seemed to work out well for the Yankees today, and not so much for the Twins.

Of course, the Twins had to face Masahiro Tanaka, so that could be part of their problem. In 8 innings, he threw 106 pitches, allowed just 4 hits, 2 walks, and a run (which was unearned), striking out 9 batters. That’s right, the only reason the Twins even got a run and led the game for a bit was due to the first of 3 errors the Yankees made. (Yes, sloppy fielding.) The lead-off batter in the 1st reached 1st on a fielding error by Johnson, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, got to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on a 2-out single. But thanks to Tanaka’s magic on the mound, the Twins threats of anything always landed flat.

In the mean time, the Yankees tied up the game in the 4th with a pretty sweet solo home run by Yangervis Solarte. They sat there for a bit, as the Twins also fought off the Yankees attempts to turn their outrageous number of hits (they would go on to hit 12 total in the game) into something more.

And then the 8th inning hit. The skies turned grey again and some drizzle started appearing on things like batting helmets and the infield. With 1 out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled and then stole 2nd and promptly advanced to 3rd on a throwing error. Brian Roberts walked, putting runners at the corners. Then Brian McCann’s double scored Ellsbury, and Soriano was intentionally walked to load the bases. And that’s when the heavens opened up and started making a muddy mess of the field.

Thirty minutes and the skies cleared. The grounds crew (seriously, the hardest working guys in baseball) dried and redid the whole field. A new Twins pitcher on the mound, and the game resumed. The Twins re-took the field, Roberts at 3rd, McCann at 2nd, and Ichiro (pinch-running for Soriano) at 1st, just 1 out. A quick pop out became 2 outs. And Kelly Johnson’s single scored Roberts, and put the Yankees up 3-1.

(If you’re interesting the difference before and after the rain delay, watch McCann’s double and then Johnson’s single above.)

Under clear, sunny skies that fill the space above New York after a rain shower, David Robertson came on in the 9th to ensure the Yankees kept that lead. And though he wrestled a tad, he was able to grab that save and slam the door. The Yankees taking today’s game in a rollercoaster kind of way, and forcing tomorrow’s game to be a “rubber match” (or the deciding game in a odd-number of games series).

Mark Teixeira played a bit today but was removed early on with stiffness and soreness in his right wrist (the one he injured and had surgery on last year). I know he was hoping to push through it, and even received cortisone injections to help with the swelling and speed up the recovery. This could simply be overuse as he’s been quite a force lately, especially offensively, so this forced rest could certainly help him regain the needed strength and power the Yankees need in the line-up and in the field.

Also, Michael Pineda has experienced a setback in his recovery process. He has been nursing and rehabbing a back injury, but a recent MRI showed inflammation in that injured spot. He is shutdown, which means he will cease all rehab activities until healing has progressed. They are still hoping he will return soon, but a June comeback is now looking less likely as a post-All Star Break seems more probable.

The Yankees hosted the chairman of the Prostate Cancer Foundation to encourage early detection for men over 40. Early detection is key to help improve survival rates in cancer rates. For more information, check out the foundation’s website. Also, you can participate in the Home Run pledge. For every home run hit in MLB from June 9 to June 16 (Father’s Day), your pledged donation will go to help cancer research or you can submit a one-time donation. This is a great way to show your support and love for the important men in your life, like say aging baseball players. Former Yankees manager and Hall of Famer inductee this year Joe Torre is a prostate cancer survivor because of organizations like this.

Go Yankees!

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