Although they have seemingly faced a lot of borderline journeymen or unfamiliar rookie pitchers this season, the Yanks haven't had to send too many to the mound. And when it finally came time to do so, Sergio Mitre did what was necessary for the Bombers to walk away with the victory.
By this time last year, the Yankees had already asked Kei Igawa, Darrell Rasner, Dan Geise, Sindey Ponson, Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes and even Brian Bruney to start games for them. Last night was only the 9th start they needed from outside their Opening Day rotation this season, with seven of those coming from Hughes. Having only one pitcher nearly incapable of recording a victory in the early going this year (Wang) as opposed to two last year (Hughes and Kennedy) is a big reason that the Yankees just took over sole posession of first place in the AL East.
It wasn't a dominant outing for Mitre, and it got off to a rocky start in the 1st when Brian Roberts doubled to lead off the game, advanced to third on a groundout and scored when Nick Markakis singled to center. Roberts made his way around the bases again in the 3rd, via a single, stolen base, thorwing error (by Mitre) and finally came home on a one out dribbler to Jeter.
The Yanks did their damage in the second through fourth innings, starting with a manufactured run by A-Rod. He walked to lead off the 2nd, stole a base, advanced to third on a fly ball and scored on a sac fly. Alex was the one driving in the runs in the third inning, with a two out, bases loaded single that scored Cody Ransom, and Jeter. Robby Cano added a two run homer to the home bullpen in the fifth inning and Ransom scored again on a single by Johnny Damon later in the frame.
Mitre faced the minimum 6 batters in the fourth and fifth but ran into trouble in the 6th. He gave up back to back singles to Markakis and Aubrey Huff, who both came around to score two batters later on a single by Melvin Mora. The Serg got Nolan Reimold to strike out before Girardi replaced him with Alfredo Aceves.
The Marlins' cast-off and Tommy John rehab case didn't exactly impress with his performance last night, but when he left the game, he could only win, not lose it. He gave up 8 hits but only one was for extra bases - the double in the first to Roberts. The O's worked just one walk off of the sinkerballer and he threw 57 of his 91 pitches for strikes. After Aceves, Phil Coke and Mariano Rivera each pitched a scoreless inning to lock down Mitre's first Major League win since 2007.