2. Leading off the bottom of the 2nd inning, Robinson Cano leveled the score at 1-1, redirecting a 90MPH fastball that Scott Kazmir left over the inner half out into the right field seats.
3. In the bottom of the third, Derek Jeter joined the lead off home run party, taking two fastballs from Kazmir before smashing a line drive to right that gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. After Nick Swisher flied out to center, Mark Teixeira and A-Rod worked back to back walks, but Cano and Posada grounded out back to back to end the inning.
4. Marcus Thames came to the plate to lead off the fourth, but instead of jacking a home run he managed only a lowly single. It was okay as Curtis Granderson followed him with a triple down the right field line. Randy Winn grounded out to second without scoring Granderson from third, but Jeter got the job done with a single in the next at bat. 4-1 Yanks.
5. Kazmir gave up yet another lead off hit to start the 5th, this time a double to A-Rod. Cano followed with his second homer of the game, sending Kazmir to the showers and putting the Yankees ahead 6-1.
6. After expending 26 pitches to get through just four hitters in the top of the 5, Phil Hughes came back out for the 6th inning, having already thrown 97 pitches. He had Torii Hunter 1-2 but ultimately surrendered a single and then walked Matsui on 6 pitches. That free pass ended Hughes night and bought in David Robertson, who gave up the inherited runner before getting out of the inning. 6-2 Yanks.
7. The Yanks' bullpen came together to close down the game from there. Robertson got two outs in the 7th before turning it over to Damaso Marte, who retired Abreu. Marte gave up two straight singles to start the 8th before getting one out and passing the baton to Joba Chamberlain. It only took 3 pitches for Joba to get Howie Kendrick to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Chamberlain came back out for the ninth inning but Mike Napoli worked a walk and Eric Aybar singled with two outs, bringing on Mariano Rivera for the ol' one out save. Four pitches later, Mo retired Bobby Abreu and the Yanks won 6-2.
IFs, ANDs & BUTs
- It was quite poetic that Robinson Cano (who was named after Jackie Robinson) had two home runs and Mariano Rivera (who is the last active player to wear #42) nailed down the save. Of all the games played in the Majors last night, the Robinson's surviving family chose to attend this one. That's pretty cool.
- Hughes struck out 6 batters but also walked 5 in 5 innings. The only of the three hits he allowed that went for extra bases was the homer to Matsui. A respectable sixty six of his 108 pitches went for strikes but the Angels extended a lot of at bats by fouling good pitches off. Hughes might not have been efficient, but he was effective. His fastball seemed extra live in the first inning, getting two swinging strikeouts, but lost a little life as the game progressed. Hopefully that will change as we get deeper into the season and he develops a little more stamina.
- Hughes had a balk in the 4th. Hideki Matsui was on first, and it wasn't like Matsui forced him to make a mistake; it appeared that Hughes just forgot he was there.
- Mike Napoli lined a single up the middle that very nearly scored Matsui but Curtis Granderson gunned him down at the plate.
- Curtis Granderson added a second triple with two outs in the 5th inning, that one standing up. The ball bounced around against the wall in right center for a moment and by the time Abreu had fielded it, Granderson was already around second.
- Randy Winn went 0-4, rapping three groundballs and striking out swinging once.
- Girardi pinch hit Nick Johnson for Marcus Thames against right hander Matt Palmer in the 6th inning with the Yanks already up 6-2. During a game with a four run lead might have been a good chance to give Thames an AB against a righty, but Girardi was unwilling to sacrifice that potential advantage. That's fine, but what happened to the philosophy of using these early season games to find out what guys are capable of doing?
- Bringing in Rivera for the save was probably equally unnecessary, but it was a nice moment considering his uniform number and the occasion.
- The Yanks won their third straight series via a third consecutive rubber game and now sit at 6-3.
The homestand continues tomorrow at 7:05 as the welcome C.J. Wilson and the Rangers to town.