Games 89 & 90: NYY vs. BOS — Let’s split 2, #CCStrong, & finally shut out

The first game of today’s doubleheader was a make-up game from the rain out on April 25. But after last night’s marathon 16 innings, it was bound to be a long finish to this weekend’s rivalry series at Fenway.

Game 1:
For the afternoon game, the Yankees turned almost at the last-minute to veteran starter CC Sabathia who had a truly great outing this afternoon, coming off his recent stint on the DL. He threw 97 pitches in his 6 innings, gave up just 2 hits, 5 walks, and no runs, striking out 3 batters along the way. Plus, he set himself up for the win, his 8th of the season actually.

The Yankees needed the likes of veteran reliable starters like this vintage Sabathia to give the exhausted bullpen a chance to recoup some of its strength. And he did. Clippard and Green kept the scoreless streak alive through the 7th and 8th innings, and Chapman’s 9th was strong enough to earn him the save and continue the momentum of the game.

The Yankees’ hitters managed to hit quite a bit off the Red Sox’s pitchers in the first game today, a total of 12 hits. However, they only managed to break through the defense in two innings. In the 4th, with 1 out, the Yankees loaded the bases with a single, an error, and another single. Ji-Man Choi’s sacrifice fly scored Gregorious to get a run on the board, and then Ronald Torreyes’ single scored Frazier to double the score. Despite the bases being loaded with a hit-by-pitch, they ended up grounding out to end the rally. Didi Gregorius added an insurance run in the 5th, a 2-out solo home run into the right field seats.

Final score: 3-0 Yankees

Game 2:
About 4 hours later, it was time for the regularly scheduled game, the rare late Sunday night game. And the Yankees called on another veteran starter to try to extend the life of the bullpen. Masahiro Tanaka definitely helped with the bullpen, and his outing was actually pretty good overall. He threw 112 pitches into the 8th inning, gave up 8 hits, no walks, and 3 runs, striking out 9 Boston batters.

In the 3rd, a 1-out single scored as part of a 2-out 2-run home run to give the Red Sox the lead. And then in the 6th, a lead-off single ended up at 2nd on a throwing error, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on an RBI single. But that would be it for the Red Sox. Even as Chasen Shreve closed out the 8th with a 5-pitch strikeout to make it an even 10 for the Yankee pitchers this game.

All that was needed was for the Yankee batters to do something. And normally, off this particular starter, they can and do. But while they got 8 total hits, they didn’t do much else with that. They also racked up 10 strikeouts, but they were unable to find a hole in the defense large enough to walk home.

And thus, the Yankees became the final team this season to be shut out of a game. It took 90 games, but someone had to do it. Somehow, it’s only fitting that it’s the Red Sox.

Final score: 3-0 Red Sox

Final series outcome: Red Sox and Yankees split the series 2-2.

In roster moves: before the doubleheader, the Yankees transferred Michael Pineda from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list due to the partial tear in his right UCL (elbow). The Yankees selected the contract of reliever Caleb Smith and recalled Domingo German and Bryan Mitchell (who was scheduled to be their 26th man) from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In their place, they optioned Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller back, due to their extensive work in last night’s game.

But I wouldn’t put down roots there just yet. Keep the “Scranton Shuttle” fired up and ready. They’ll be more roster moves before the Yankees start their series in Minnesota.

Also, our hearts go out to the family of legendary Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Bob Wolff. Wolff passed away Saturday at his home in New York at the age of 96. He is the voice that called the Don Larsen perfect game in 1956 and is still the current World Record holder for the longest broadcasting career, awarded in 2014. The passing of another iconic voice in the sports world is always a sad day, closing another chapter of the great past and legacy of this team.

Go Yankees!

Game 88: NYY vs. BOS — Dramatic rivalry in 16 innings

Well, the rivalry is nothing if not a show for the dramatic. Five hours and fifty minutes, 16 very long innings, a protested game, weird base running, 16 total pitchers, and 36,936 fans. So, it’s also apparently the longest game between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway since June 4, 1966 (which also went 16 innings). Fortunately for the Yankees, today’s (or rather tonight’s) game turned out much better.

Honestly, most of the regular part of today’s game was a pitching duel between Luis Severino and the Red Sox’s ace pitcher (who also started the All-Star Game just 4 days ago). They both kept things close, with their stats nearly parallel (except the Red Sox’s start had 13 whopping strikeouts, his true specialty on display). Severino threw 114 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, and a run, striking out just 6 Boston batters. That lone allowed run came in the 3rd inning. With 1 out, Severino gave up 2 walks and a single to load up the bases. A sacrifice fly easily scored the lead runner.

But that would be it for the Red Sox all afternoon and into the night. Clippard and Betances closed out the rest of the regular 9 innings, breezing through the Red Sox lineup.

It looked like the Yankees were going to be shut out of tonight’s game right until that 9th inning. Lead-off hitter Matt Holliday planted the 3rd pitch of the at-bat into the Green Monster seats, a big solo home run to tie up the game. So, the game went into extra innings. Lots of extra innings.

In the 10th, Shreve got into a bit of trouble giving up 2 singles, but then Warren got him out of it with 3 great outs to get out of the jam. Then it would be reliever Jonathan Holder who would shoulder most of the extra innings load with 3 truly fantastic innings. His 41 pitches sailed through the Red Sox batters. And Chapman’s 14th was quite a bit better than his blown save last night. And once again, the Yankees threw their weight behind another reliable reliever in Ben Heller who took the final 2 innings and held the Red Sox to that lone run, adding 3 great strikeouts, earning the win.

The Yankees’ bullpen rose to the occasion and became the ‘pen they’ve been earlier this year, the one that helped the team reach 1st in the division (a spot they no longer occupy). So, it’s only fitting the current 1st place holder also had a pretty good bullpen and held off the Yankees bats for most of the game. It wasn’t until the top of the 16th the Yankees found their opportunity.

Ellsbury led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on Headley’s single, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ single to break the tie. Austin Romine’s single scored Headley, and Torreyes’ sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to scoring position before Gardner was intentionally walked. Gary Sanchez’s sacrifice fly scored Gregorius to ensure the extra insurance run for the Yankees’ eventual victory.

Final score: 4-1 Yankees, in 16 innings.

I know I wasn’t the only one that was glad this was an East Coast-based game (that started at 4pm EST), and not a West Coast night game (that started at 10pm EST). Been there, done that. Those aren’t fun nights, even when the Yankees do end up winning.

There was a bit of a weird play in the top of the 11th inning. So, Holliday worked a walk, and the Red Sox changed relievers. The new pitcher got Ellsbury to hit into a ground out of sorts. The fielder tagged 2nd as he threw back to the 1st baseman hoping for a double play. However, it wasn’t a good throw and bounced off Ellsbury’s leg as he tagged 1st base. To complicate things, Holliday decided to head back to 1st base for some weird reason, causing a bit of a clog-up and confusion as the 1st baseman tried to catch the errant throw (as it rolled past them all into foul territory beyond 1st) and figure out why Holliday came back to 1st. Holliday jumped up and ran to 2nd thinking he was safe there.

After nearly 10 minutes of replay, review, and manager arguments, it was ruled that Holliday was out at 2nd and Ellsbury safe at 1st, no interference (despite what the silly Red Sox-leaning broadcasters seemed bent on arguing) or anything beyond bad base-running by Holliday. And the Red Sox decided to play the rest of the game under protest. Seeing as nothing came of Ellsbury still being safe on base, I doubt the protest will amount to much. In fact, in the decades such an option was available, only one game has picked up and resumed after review (the infamous “Pine Tar Game” in 1983).

But here’s what I’m thinking: I think Holliday didn’t see the infielder tag 2nd, assumed it was a line drive, and headed back to 1st thinking he’d be doubled off the base. Or something to that extent. In other words, the call was right, and Holliday misread the scenario. It caused some confusion, but nothing came out of it. So in the end, does it matter? No, because they still had to play 5 more innings beyond this to figure out the winner of the game.

With a double-header scheduled for tomorrow, I imagine there’s going to be quite a few roster moves tomorrow. Especially as the only bullpen pitcher not used was Chad Green. I would think a lot of “fresh arms” will be pulled up from Scranton in lieu of the doubleheader, and I suppose the 26th player (allowed for doubleheader days) would be an extra bench player. But I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. So we’ll see how it all plays out, and pray for a couple of easy regular games.

Go Yankees!

Game 87: NYY vs. BOS — We’re back and giving wins away…

The Yankees had quite the All-Star Break. The five representatives from the team were part of the winning American League team, and two Yankees had a pretty good Home Run Derby with one just dominating (can anyone say 513 feet?) and taking home the crossed bats trophy. Plus, there was a few roster shake-ups (see below).

So going into the weekend series at Fenway, the Yankees were hoping for a continued rise to their positive spin of the week. But fielding errors and some sloppy pitching didn’t help some of the better parts of tonight’s game.

Jordan Montgomery got the start and got a bit roughed up, throwing 96 pitches in his 4 innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs, striking out just 3 Boston batters. In the 3rd, with 1 out and a runner on 1st with a single, a big 2-run home run into the center field corner of the Green Monster scored the Red Sox’s first runs. And then Montgomery loaded up the bases in the 4th with a walk, a single, and a missed catch error. A 1-out single scored another run, but Montgomery got out of the inning without further damage thanks to a beautiful double play.

Chad Green had a beautiful outing, throwing 30 pitches in his 2 innings, striking out 5 of his 6 batters. Adam Warren kept the momentum going, but still gave up a couple of hits before getting out of the 7th scoreless. And then Dellin Betances‘ 8th inning was near flawless (save a hit-by-pitch) thanks to his 3 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Yankees actually got on the board first in the 3rd inning. Headley and Torreyes were on the corners with singles and an out when Gary Sanchez’s single scored Headley. After Judge’s walk loaded the bases, the Red Sox’s defense kicked it into gear for a double play to end the Yankees’ threat. Headley led-off the 5th with a double and then scored on Brett Gardner’s 1-out single. Then he scored as part of Sanchez’s huge 2-run home run (hit over the Green Monster) to put the Yankees back in the lead.

So, going into the bottom of the 9th inning, the Yankees just needed 3 outs to finish the game in the win column. Of course, they turned to their flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, who just couldn’t find the strike zone to save tonight’s game for anything. He gave up consecutive singles to kick things off, who promptly pulled off a double steal to put them in scoring position. A fielding error then allowed the lead runner to score and tie up the game before the next batter was intentionally walk to load the bases. With no outs. And then Chapman walked the next batter, which walked in the winning run. Again, with no outs.

Final score: 5-4 Red Sox

Roster news: Matt Holliday was reinstated from the DL stint for his viral infection, Starlin Castro was sent to join AA Trenton for his rehab assignment, and they optioned Rob Refsnyder to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

In announcing the starting rotation for the weekend’s pitchers, two names were noticeably absent (Sabathia, who will miss Fenway just out of rotation order, and Pineda). It was then that the Yankees announced that Michael Pineda was out of the rotation because he was diagnosed with a partial tear in his UCL (elbow). The initial recommendation is Tommy John surgery to repair it, but he wants a second opinion. Surgery is likely at this point, which is a shame because Pineda was having a pretty good season so far. More news will come as Pineda decides his next step.

And in fresh faces news, the Yankees orchestrated a trade with the Brewers — sending reliever Tyler Webb for infielder Garrett Cooper. Cooper then made his MLB debut at 1st base in Fenway tonight. His defense was on-point, but his offense was lacking (thanks mostly to the usual first-day jitters). Cooper just played in the AAA All-Star Game (which also featured Yankees outfielder Dustin Fowler and pitcher Caleb Smith) two days ago in Tacoma for the Brewers’ AAA team from Colorado Springs. Cooper is the 8th person to start at 1st this season. We’ll see how this works out.

Go Yankees!

Game 57: BOS vs. NYY — “El Gary” & Gardy rule the Bronx

Finishing a series on a win is always a good thing. Winning a series is always a good thing. Doing both of those in the Bronx against the Red Sox is a great thing. On another chilly day in the City, the Yankees faced off against their division and long-time rival Boston Red Sox to close out their mid-week series. And they did so with a rather large show of power.

This gave starter Michael Pineda a nice cushion to work from, which he did need from time to time. Pineda threw 110 pitches through his 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 unearned run, striking out 8 Boston batters along the way. In the 4th, the lead-off batter reached 1st on a throwing error, moved to 2nd on a single, ended up at 3rd on a double play, and then scored on a passed ball.

The Red Sox did threaten at times, putting runners in scoring position four times. But Adam Warren threw a flawless 8th inning, breezing through the Red Sox in just 18 pitches, and Giovanni Gallegos got the first 2 outs of the 9th, including one great sliding catch by Ronald Torreyes. It would be closer Dellin Betances to create a dramatic flourish to the 9th inning — a walk, a strikeout wild pitch that allowed the batter to reach safely, and a walk to load up the bases — only to have Betances get a great strikeout on a wicked slider to end the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continued to give the Red Sox starter a really hard time. This same starter used to play with the Rays and the Tigers, so he’s faced the Yankees quite often. And consistently, the Yankees love hitting off him, as they did tonight — racking up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs in just 5 innings (and a whopping 107 pitches).

In the 2nd, Sanchez led-off with a walk and moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single. Two outs later, Sanchez scored on Brett Gardner’s single. In the 3rd, with 1 out and runners on the corners, Gary Sanchez hit a big 3-run home run into the left field seats. And after Castro’s lead-off single in the 5th, Sanchez did it again and hit a big 2-run home run, this time to the right field seats.

As the Red Sox dipped into their bullpen, the Yankees continued their offensive march towards victory tonight. In the 6th, with 2 outs, Aaron Judge’s single became the hardest hit ball of the season, at 119.8 mph in exit velocity (though it should be noted that Judge has hit three 119+mph hits, and the rest of MLB has none). After moving to 2nd on Holliday’s walk, Judge then scored on Starlin Castro’s single.

And in the 8th, Brett Gardner led things off with his 13th home run of the season. Hicks and Judge singled, and Holliday was hit by a pitch to load the bases. All with no outs this inning. Castro hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd, which still scored Hicks to cap off the Yankees’ scoring tonight.

Final score: 9-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.

And the Yankees announced the lineup for their 70th Annual Old Timers’ Day in just over two weeks. Yankees Hall-of Famers and alumni scheduled to appear include: Jesse Barfield, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, Rick Cerone, David Cone, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Mariano Duncan, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Joe Girardi, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Sparkly Lyle, Kevin Maas, Tino Martinez, Lee Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Stump Merrill, Gene “Stick”
Michael, Gene Monahan, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada (making his OTD debut!), Willie Randolph, Tim Raines, Mickey Rivers, Tanyon Sturtze, Ralph Terry, Marcus Thames, Joe Torre, Mike Torrez, Roy White, and Bernie Williams.

The widows of five Yankee legend will also make an appearance: Arlene Howard, widow of Elston Howard; Helen Hunter, widow of Jim “Catfish” Hunter; Jill Martin, widow of Billy Martin; Diana Munson, widow of Thurman Munson; and Kay Murcer, widow of Bobby Murcer.

Old Timer’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 25. Gates will open at 10am that day. The “Old Timers” will play a short exhibition game before the regularly scheduled afternoon game the Yankees will play against the visiting Rangers at 2:05 pm. At the afternoon game the day before (Saturday, June 24), many of the above legends will be there to hang out with the fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. Basically, it’s going to be a weekend of legends. Have you got your tickets? I can’t wait!

Go Yankees!

Game 56: BOS vs. NYY — #CCStrong shuts out the competition

According to some weird trivia bits on my newsfeed, tonight’s game was the largest shutout win against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium since September 1965. And honestly, it’s really a whole lot to do with starter CC Sabathia, who dominated once again, and led the Yankees to his 5th straight win.

Like I said, Sabathia was dominant through his outing tonight in the middle game against the Red Sox, throwing 95 pitches through his 8 innings. He gave up 5 hits and no walks, striking out 5 Boston batters. But more importantly, Sabathia allowed no runs.

Yes, between the dominant pitching by Sabathia and the great defense, the Yankee kept the Red Sox scoreless. And Jonathan Holder continued that streak with a stellar 10-pitch 9th inning to breeze through the Red Sox lineup and close out the game.

In the 3rd, Didi Gregorius led-of with a solo home run to start off the Yankees’ run-scoring tonight. The Yankees loaded up the bases that inning, but left all 3 runner stranded. But this certainly wasn’t the sign of things to come this game. Castro led-off the 4th inning with a great stand-up triple and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s single, and Headley hit a 1-out single to join Sanchez on the bases. They both then scored when Chris Carter hit a really big 3-run home run deep into the left field seats.

Later, in the bottom of the 7th, Gardner reached 1st on a fielding error and then stole 2nd, his first stolen base since April 10. Gardner eventually scored all the way from 2nd on Matt Holliday’s 2-out single. He went all “superman” as he slid into home plate to easily beat the off-center throw.

In the 8th, with 1 out, Gregorius singled and Headley walked to get things started again. Chris Carter’s single scored Gregorius, moving Headley to 3rd. And Brett Gardner singled home Headley to cap off the Yankee runs tonight. The Yankees certainly racked up the hits (as well as the runs), with a grand total of 12 hits by Yankee batters.

Final score: 8-0 Yankees

A rather nice turn of events after last night. Though you can’t say the Yankees didn’t make it a close one despite the struggles at the start. These Yankees this season are something else to watch.

On another note: one of my favorite parts of seeing baseball live and in person is showing up early for batting practice. You get to watch the players take swings and the occasional fielding drill all leading up to the game. This year is especially fun for fans who crowd the outfield seats and bleachers in hopes of catching batting practice home run balls from the likes of a player like Aaron Judge. You never know when one of his big hits can come your way out there.

In fact, it’s not only fans that have to stay alert for an Aaron Judge hit. Judge has actually broken a television in a club in the outfield seating area at Yankee Stadium, hit 2 balls into a hotel near the stadium in Toronto, and smacked one into a vendor’s kiosk, bouncing it off the bar area, before tonight’s game.

So basically, when Judge is up, look out! Those little signs on the backs of the chairs are true, especially when a certain outfielder is in the batter’s box or in the batting cage:

Be Alert!
#truth {photo courtesy of author}

Go Yankees!

Game 55: BOS vs. NYY — A chilly rivalry slows Yankee advance

The calendar says June 6, but the weather certainly wasn’t keeping up in the Bronx tonight. No, it was cold (54° at first pitch and dropping) and drizzling rain through most of the game. And yet, the packed crowd in the Bronx bundled up to watch the first game of this week’s rivalry series. Because there’s nothing like the rivalry series.

I mean, over the years, it’s certainly toned down from the vitriolic fervor that you probably wouldn’t want to take your kids to. And then the Red Sox won the Series (3 times), and suddenly, it’s all good. It’s like having a good debate about really opposing politics, and then still being able to go out for drinks with that person with no hard feelings. It’s the good kind of rivalry — where you don’t hate the people or the city, and you want good things for them everywhere except within the ball park. No, in the ball park, you do not wish good things for them, and a loss stings a bit harder than most other losses.

Of course, if there was a better start, they Yankees actually might have had this game. But Masahiro Tanaka continued in his struggles on the mound in tonight’s game. He threw just 62 pitches in his 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 5 runs, and striking out just 2 Boston batters, setting himself (and the Yankees) up for the loss.

In the 1st, the lead-off batter singled, made it to 3rd on a single, and then scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Red Sox a small early lead. But Tanaka was able to hold them off until control slipped again in the 4th, giving up his lone walk to lead-off the inning. Then he gave up consecutive home runs, all before recording an out. A 2-out solo shot in the 5th capped off the Red Sox’s runs for the night.

So, with Tanaka coming off a rough start, the rest of the team had some work to do. The bullpen had to keep the Red Sox from adding to their score. Which they actually did quite well. Layne allowed a lead-off walk in the 6th, but then Chad Green came in for some long-term relief and just breezed through the Red Sox lineup, including getting 5 stellar strikeouts for his 10 outs (pitching just over 3 innings). Shreve closed things out for the last 2 outs of the 9th inning in just 9 pitches.

The Yankees offense had some catching up to do as well. Down early, the Yankees took their first available opportunity in the 2nd inning. After Hicks worked a 1-out walk, Didi Gregorius singled and thanks to a throwing error by the outfielder, Hicks scored and Gregorius ended up all the way at 3rd. But 2 outs later, the game was still tied.

Down even further in the 5th, Chris Carter led-off with a big, solid solo home run. After the starter exhausted himself in just 5 innings (throwing a whopping 123 pitches, by the way), a new reliever gave the Yankees a bit more chances. Starlin Castro led-off with a single, moved to 3rd on Hicks’ single, and then scored while Gregorius hit into a double play.

The Yankees took the final shot in the 8th under yet another new reliever. Matt Holliday led-off with a double and then on a ground out camped at 3rd for a bit. With a new pitcher, Gregorius actually struck out on a wild pitch, but the catcher was unable to handle it and Gregorius took off for 1st base as Holliday came running home. Everyone’s safe, and the Yankees were within a single run of the Red Sox lead. Despite Headley’s walk, the Yankees ended up stranding 2 runners on base and then never had a chance in the 9th for a final rally.

Final score: 5-4 Red Sox

MLB released its latest AL All-Star Game voting information. And as it turns out, the whole world is an Aaron Judge fan. Yes, Judge is now #1 overall in voting, plus #1 in the outfield category. Basically, everyone seems to recognize that there’s something pretty awesome about this kid. He does something kind of spectacular at nearly every game, and he’s getting noticed, rightly so. However, I think MLB beat reporter Bryan Hoch put it best during a moment tonight’s Judge show:

And there’s still quite a bit of Yankee representation: Castro dropped to 2nd for 2nd basemen; Holliday is up to 2nd for designated hitters; Gregorius is 3rd for short stops; Sanchez is 4th for catchers; and Gardner is 9th and Ellsbury 15th for outfielders. Have you voted your 35 times yet?

Now, on this day, in 1944, 73 years ago, the Allies embarked on a huge invasion of northern France in what became known to the world as D-Day. It was the ultimate turning point for the Allied forces, leading to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation and eventually to their victory over the Axis Powers. Baseball in America was cancelled that day as Americans clung to their radios to hear about the storming of the beaches of Normandy.

But one particular person you may have heard of played a key role in that operation. A young naval officer named Larry spend the invasion running messages between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, two of the specific points of attack on the western side of the English Channel. At one point, he and five crewmates provided cover fire on Omaha Beach to soften the German defenses to get US troops to advance on land.

No one knew that the scrawny kid from St. Louis, who helped keep the Allies in communication at the risk of his own life at times that day, would be the same one they’d be cheering on to help the Yankees win multiple World Series championships in the next coming decades. Even today, folks proudly wear #8 in his honor, but 73 years ago, he did more than just hit a ball around. Yogi Berra showed what it really meant to be a hero, and he served his country well.

And then he came back to play a little baseball…

A big thank you once again to all our nation’s veterans and their families. Your service and sacrifice are never forgotten.

Go Yankees!

Game 20: NYY vs. BOS — #TanakaTime wins pitching duel

Tonight’s final game at Fenway this series was bound to be one to watch. The Red Sox sent in their absolutely outstanding pitcher to oppose Masahiro Tanaka. Let me give credit where credit is due for a moment: Sale is a really good pitcher, and despite the Yankees’ advancing offense (including 8 hits), he somehow earned 10 strikeouts.

Both pitchers threw into the 9th inning, but it would be Tanaka who would clearly dominate thanks in part to the defense. Tanaka only got 3 strikeouts, but he only gave up 3 hits over a complete 9 shutout innings, throwing just 97 total pitches. This, of course, set himself up for his 3rd win of the season so far.

Like I said, the Yankees offense managed to dent into the Red Sox pitching, working 8 total hits off the starter. They also managed to turn that into a few runs. In the 4th, Aaron Hicks led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a ground out, went to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly.

Then in the 9th, Hicks and Headley led off with consecutive singles. Matt Holliday then hit a long ball to score Hicks, and Headley and Holliday ended up in scoring position. Now, according to the scorekeeper, it was due to Holliday’s single and ended up at 2nd on the throw, so it was definitely not that Holliday actually hit a nice double and the Red Sox were slow in their defensive response.

With no outs yet, that would be the end of Boston’s starter’s outing (and Gardner on to pinch-run for Holliday). So, the new reliever still gave up a single to Starlin Castro that easily scored Headley for the extra run. But then a pop-up in foul territory and a simple ground into a double play ended the advancing of the Yankees’ lead.

Tanaka quickly shut them down in order in the bottom of the 9th, that 3rd out being his 14th straight batter he got out. So the Yankees celebrated victory of the game and the series after tonight’s game took just 2 hours and 21 minutes to play, thanks to the sharp pitching on both sides.

Final score: 3-0 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-0.

Injury news: Didi Gregorius is scheduled to make his season debut with the Yankees back in the Bronx at tomorrow’s game against the Orioles. A corresponding roster move will be announced tomorrow, but I expect it will be a bench player.

And Gary Sanchez should begin his rehab stint with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Tuesday. Sanchez has been doing some baseball exercises (throwing at a distance, swinging in the cages, etc.), but will need to work his way back to the Bronx, expecting to be back in the first part of May.

A fun stat that came out just after the game is that the Yankees now have the lowest team ERA in baseball (2.90). The next 5 teams are: White Sox (2.92), Orioles (3.41), Red Sox (3.42), Astros (3.48), and Dodgers (3.48). Yes, this means the Yankees’ pitchers are allowing less than 3 runs per game on average. Tonight’s shutout is proof of how this nice statistic came into being for the Yankees.

And now, it’s back to the Bronx…

Go Yankees!