Game 56: LAA vs. NYY — Warren the Warrior and some big offense

Adam Warren is certainly proving his worth to the Yankees as a crucial part of the starting rotation. Of course, it always helps when he’s given some pretty decent run support. Tonight, the Yankees just pounced early on the visiting Angels, knocking out their starter before the end of the 1st inning and then depended on their strong pitching tonight to protect that lead.

Warren threw 105 pitches tonight in his 6.2 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs, striking out 2 Angels batters. Honestly, most of his outs were dependent on the really stellar defense behind him, with everyone on the field just showing off some snazzy plays, grabs, diving stops, flips, and put-outs. Warren had a few 1-2-3 innings, so in the 5th, there was a sign of trouble with a lead-off double. That runner moved to 3rd on a fly out and then scored on a sacrifice fly, but Warren quickly wrapped up that inning. In the 6th, the Angels young star hitter smacked a big solo home run into the right field stands. Sometimes, there’s not much you can do about a perfect strike when it crosses paths with a good hitter.

But that would be all the Angels would do — just those 2 runs. Justin Wilson finished Warren’s 7th inning and gave a great outing in the 8th inning, keeping the Angels from doing much of anything. Chris Capuano got the nod for the 9th inning, throwing just 7 pitches to get the first 2 outs before battling it out with the final batter — a 13-pitch duel that Capuano won with a big swinging strike for the final out.

Now, about that run support…

I kind of feel bad for the Angels’ starter, but I take comfort in the fact that normally the young pitcher is pretty good. So if he has to have a bad day, I’m selfishly okay with that bad day being against the Yankees. In that really long 1st inning, the Angels’ starter threw 37 pitches to 10 batters, issuing 5 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs, and getting just 2 of the 3 outs. Here’s what happened — Brett Gardner walked; Headley singled; Rodriguez walked to load the bases; Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner; Brian McCann’s big 3-run home run cleared the bases; Beltran singled; Gregorius singled; Drew hit into a fielder’s choice (originally called out at 2nd but a challenge overturned to all safe) and loaded the bases again; a strikeout; and Gardner singled home Beltran and Gregorius. And the Angels finally called for reinforcements, opening their bullpen in the 1st inning.

That pitcher got a ground out on the next batter finally ending the inning, but his 2nd inning didn’t start out much better. After a quick first out, 2 singles put Teixeira and McCann on the corners and forced a pitching change. Carlos Beltran’s single scored Teixeira adding yet another run to the Yankees total before that pitcher got the other 2 outs needed for the inning. And that’s when the Angels pitching staff found its momentum and finally challenged the Yankees offense through its next 2 pitchers. The final pitcher for the Angels struggled some in the 8th inning. Flores led-off with a double and moved to 3rd on Gardner’s single. Gardner stole 2nd on a strikeout, and Rodriguez’s walk loaded the bases. Then a walk to Mark Teixeira walked in Flores before this pitcher got those last 2 outs.

Final score: 8-2 Yankees.

{Media note: Due to the National Broadcast of this game, highlights for this game are currently unavailable. When they become available, I will attach them to this post. Sorry. I was looking forward to reliving the highlights myself.}

And a quick note, our thoughts and prayers are with a woman in Boston named Tonya Carpenter tonight. Carpenter was attending the Red Sox-Athletics game today at Fenway, and in the 2nd inning, she was struck in the head by a broken bat that flew into the stands. She was taken out by stretcher and immediately taken to a local hospital. She was listed in serious condition.

So once again, I want to remind people to pay attention during baseball games. Bats, balls, and the occasional player (“The Dive”, anyone?) may find their way into the stands near you at any moment, and your awareness can be the difference between the victorious cheer from catching a foul ball and a trip to the emergency room. Stay aware and stay safe, people!

Go Yankees!

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