So, the Yankees took a bit of a journey today down south, heading down to a 2-day stint at The Ballpark of Palm Beaches, the new Spring home for both the Astros and Nationals. On this beautiful Sunday afternoon, the new stadium hosted its first sold-out crowd of the Spring (7,721 guest) to watch the Yankees take on the Astros. And thanks to a rather messy defensive game, fans got 3 hours and 36 minutes of on-field action.
Adam Warren got the start today and threw a great game, into the 4th inning with just 1 allowed hit (outside the sticky inning), relying on his defense to keep things close. His lone sticky inning was the 2nd. With 1 out and runners (thanks to a walk and single) on the corners, a sacrifice fly scored the Astros’ first run. Then 2 more singles loaded the bases, but a pop-out ended the Astros’ opportunity that inning. Heller closed out the 4th inning for Warren.
Now, the Yankees actually struck first in the 1st inning. Gardner and Hicks on base with singles and 2 outs, it would be Chase Headley to begin his offensive show today with a double that scored both runners. Then in the 6th, with 1 out, Headley singled, Judge singled, and Torreyes hit into a fielder’s choice at 2nd to put runners on the corners. So, in a rather unexpected move, the Yankees pulled off a double steal. Yes, Headley stole home while Torreyes took 2nd for distraction. It worked and gave the Yankees an insurance run they’d need.
Luis Severino came on in the 5th and got into a bit of trouble in the 6th. With 1 out, Severino hit a batter and gave up a single to allow the Astros to threaten. Two more singles scored 2 runs to tie up the game. After a flyout, another single snapped the defense into action where Hicks (in center) fired a shot directly to the waiting Higashioka (at catcher) to get the runner out at home.
The game tied, both teams made every effort to advance their cause. Severino, for his part, kept things even during his time into the 8th inning, giving up a lead-off walk and a fly out before they opted for Gallegos to close out the inning. He, however, gave up a single to put runners int he corners and a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run for the Astros, and a throwing error allowed the other runner to advance to 2nd. But that final out, a fly out, shut down another Astros’ opportunity.
So, with the Astros now up over the Yankees with a slim lead, the Yankees took the opportunities granted them, something that seemed practically gift wrapped in the 9th inning. Clint Frazier started things with a 1-out single, Choi worked a 2-out walk (and was pinch-run by Estrada), and Rob Refsnyder also worked a walk to load up the bases. And then things just got messy. A wild pitch and throwing error allowed both Frazier and Estrada to score. Another wild pitch moved Refsnyder to 3rd. Donovan Solano’s walk and a pitching change, and the Yankees still weren’t done. Solano went to steal 2nd, which triggered yet another throwing error, allowed Solano to end up at 3rd and Refsnyder to score.
Final score: 6-4 Yankees.
And there was quite the game in the World Baseball Classic last night. The teams representing the United States and the Dominican Republic battled it out until the very end, with some amazing plays. But the victory would go to Team USA at the end of the night, 6-3. Team USA will now advance to semi-finals, which begin tomorrow at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Unlike the previous two rounds, the semi-final games are one-off games to decide which 2 winning teams will advance to the final game on Wednesday. Tomorrow night, the teams representing the Netherlands and Puerto Rico will face off, and Team USA and Japan will play on Tuesday night.
Now, seeing as my WBC bracket got shot to pieces two rounds ago, I’m not going to be a masochist and do a new one. However, I’m a bit torn to pick favorites. Yankees (current and former) are on 3 of these teams, and doing amazing to keep their home country’s championship dreams alive. I supposed I should be patriotic and root for Team USA. But I guess, I’ll just use a friend’s motto: “Go Sports!” to be as middle of the road. It’s partially apathetic, I guess, but it’s all baseball. I suppose I’m really rooting for rather spectacular last three games. Maybe it should just be: “Go Baseball!”
But on here, it’s always…