Spring Game 16: NYY vs. PIT — Luck of the Bombers

The Pirates donned a special green home jerseys for St. Patrick’s Day today, and for the only time during the year, most of the people in the stands looked more like they were attending an Oakland game rather than a Pirates vs. Yankees game. (In case you are unaware, the Oakland Athletics’ colors are green and yellow, so they are always ready for March 17.) But no, they were in Bradenton to see the Yankees come visit the Pirates today.

And the Yankees had a bit of trouble starting off but then their luck changed. Maybe it was the lack of green? As if they weren’t trying too hard to appease the leprechauns or something like that so they actually were granted more favor…

Okay, I have no idea what really happens on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m really not Irish at all except a possible very distant relative a couple hundred years ago that may or may not have actually emigrated from Ireland (more likely from Scotland, I’m told). So I have no clue of this holiday outside the actual story of St. Patrick, the English priest, who drove the snakes out of Ireland or used the shamrock in his sermons or something, and somehow this now translates to make total sense to wear lots of awful shades of green and drink cheap green beer all day.

Whatever. Happy St. Patrick’s Day if you are Irish, a snake, or like green things, I guess.

Masahiro Tanaka had a less than successful 2 inning outing, though it wasn’t nearly as terrible as he always seems to think it is (the mark of a true perfectionist competitor, I suppose). He gave up 4 hits, no walks, and 2 runs, striking out just 1 Pittsburgh batter. In the 1st inning, he allowed a nice 1-out solo shot. And in the 2nd, with 2 runners on base with singles and 2 outs, another single scored one more Pirates’ run. But that would be all for the Pirates this afternoon, as Tanaka’s relievers certainly did their jobs today.

Barbato escaped the 3rd inning with no added runs before handing the ball over to the very capable Luis Severino. Severino took the next 4 innings and just plowed through the Pirates’ batting order, giving up just 2 hits and striking out 5 batters overall. Just a phenomenal outing and enough to earn him the much-deserved win today too. Chasen Shreve turned out a flawless 8th inning, and prospect Tyler Olson gave a pretty decent 9th to close out the day for the Yankees’ relievers. Overall, Yankees’ pitchers gave up 8 hits and a walk, but struck out 9 batters.

The Pirates weren’t so lucky. (Okay, now even I’m tired of these puns.) In the 2nd, the Yankees started their offensive strike with a single from Headley and a double from Ackley. Rob Refsnyder’s ground out put the Yankees on the board as Headley scored their first run of the game. Then in the 4th, with 1 out and Ackley once again on base with a single, Refsnyder’s solid 2-run home run pushed the Yankees ahead of the Pirates on the board.

But they weren’t done yet. Starlin Castro pummeled a 1-out solo home run over the center field fence in the 5th inning. And then with Beltran and McCann on base with a walk and a double, Chase Headley’s sacrifice fly score Beltran to add to the expanding Yankee run total. And finally in the 7th, with Kozma and Puello on base with single, Austin Romine reached on a fielding error (the ball literally went right under the glove of the fielder, between his legs, and rolled into the shallow outfield) that ended up scoring Kozma and moving Puello all the way to 3rd so that he could then score on Diaz’s ground out into a double play.

The Yankees’ 10 hits and 3 walks produced 7 runs (6 earned, thanks to that fielding error) and got the Pirates’ pitchers to throw them only 3 strikeouts the entire game.

Final score: 7-2 Yankees.

“One to watch”: I got to give this one again to Cesar Puello. His great base running in the 7th showed his instinct. He went 1-for 2, with a run scored today. And he’s consistent in right field too, helping to keep the Pirates to their 2 measly runs. Puello continues to impress in nearly every game he steps into. That consistency and participation in both offense and defense will help the team remember you when they need to call up someone, anyone for any number of reasons throughout the year.

Go Yankees!

 

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