Tonight’s game was ridiculous. There is no other word for it. It was over 100° in the Dallas area today, with the first pitch temperature reading at 98°. It was so hot that the Yankees cancelled on-field BP today before the game. It just wasn’t worth having a player pass out from heat exhaustion before playing what would be this crazy game tonight. The Yankees are at Arlington for four games this week, and yesterday’s game 1 seemed rather normal in comparison to their second game tonight. With this pattern, I cannot imagine what’s in store for the next two nights. However, this blogger certainly wouldn’t complain with a bit of normal; though, upon reflection, I realize there is no “normal” this season.
The first inning should have tipped off everyone that this game wasn’t going to be normal. Chris Capuano got the start, and I’m guessing this is one outing he’d probably wish he could forget. And oddly, it wasn’t that long after he left the game that everyone else certainly forgot about his outing. That 1st inning, however, was brutal. Capuano threw 42 pitches, getting just 2 outs, giving up 3 hits, 5 walks, and 5 runs without striking out a single batter. Here’s what happened: a lead-off walk, 2 fly outs, a walk, an RBI single, a walk to load the bases, a 2-RBI single, a walk to load the bases again, and a walk to walk in a run and keep the bases loaded.
It was time to move on for everyone and bring in newly called up Diego Moreno to get that final out of the 1st inning. It was a 29-minute half-inning. And while Texas fans were already heated up (and not just because of the actual heat), Yankees fans were groaning in defeat. But nah, it’s just the 1st inning, and this is a very strange new Yankee team. A 5-run deficit is nothing to these guys.
And they proved that right away in the top of the 2nd. And it’s just easy to do this chronologically: Chris Young led-off with a double, Chase Headley singled home Young, John Ryan Murphy singled, Didi Gregorius was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Brendan Ryan doubled to score Headley and Murphy, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to score Gregorius, Brett Gardner’s single scored Ryan and tied the game, and Alex Rodriguez’s double scored Ellsbury. And that’s when the Rangers looked at the score board, now reading 6-5 Yankees with no outs, and pulled their starter from the game. Basically, a bad night for starters in Texas. The reliever finally got a strikeout, but the Yankees bounced back with Young’s walk and Headley’s single scored Gardner. With another strikeout on the board, Gregorius cleared the bases with a big triple and then scored on Ryan’s double before a third strikeout ended the inning.
Yes, the Yankees scored 11 runs in a single inning. And just like that, not only were the Yankees back in the game, they were dominating. And they never looked back.
Quickly to wrap up the Yankees pitching: Diego Moreno earned the win of tonight’s game in stellar fashion, throwing 70 pitches over his 5.1 innings, only allowing a single base runner (a walk) but no more runs or hits, and striking out 5 Rangers’ batters in the process. Adam Warren came on for the final third of the game and filled his stats with a line of zeros — no hits, no runs, no walks, and no strikeouts, with 34 pitches. And he earned the save.
Now, I wasn’t sure how that was possible, so I looked it up — to earn the save, the pitcher must be the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team; not the winning pitcher; credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched; and meets one of the follow — enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck; or pitches for at least three innings. Since he did the latter, he gets the save. Apparently, Warren has 4 career saves — his first was earned in similar fashion when he pitched the final 4 innings of a 7-0 game.
And even with that lead, the Yankees weren’t done with their offensive show tonight. In the 3rd, they loaded up the bases again with Gardner and Rodriguez’s singles and Teixeira’s walk. That set the stage for the dramatic that was tonight — Chris Young’s big grand slam, his 2nd of the season, 4th of his career. Then in the 4th, with 2 outs and Gardner and Teixeira on the corners, Young reached safely on a fielding error which allowed Gardner to score again.
In the 6th, with yet another new Rangers pitcher, Gardner led-off with a walk, and 1 out later, Teixeira was hit by a pitch and pinch-run (and later subbed at 1st) by Jones. Then Young doubled home Gardner, and Murphy’s 2-out single scored Jones and Young. And then in the 9th, facing a position player as the Rangers’ 7th pitcher of the evening, Ellsbury reached on the second catcher’s interference of the game and then scored when Gardner hit a 2-run home run to push the Yankees into ridiculous territory.
The Yankees were basically hitting and base-running machines — 19 hits and 10 walks, which everyone contributed in someway. It was basically the Yankees all the way from the 2nd inning until the end.
Final score: 21-5 Yankees. (Not a typo — 21 Yankee runs, like I said “ridiculous”.)
And it’s back! Roster moves: Without throwing a pitch, Nick Goody was optioned to AAA before the game today. In his place, the Yankees brought up reliever Diego Moreno to get longer arms in the bullpen, instead getting tonight’s real game-winner.