2. Derek Jeter worked a one out walk in the third inning and stole second easily with Garnder at the plate. Gardner struck out looking but Teixeira followed with a single to right that plated Jeter and put the Yankees up 2-0.
3. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning on a walk by Johnny Damon, a single off the bat of Magglio Ordonez and another base knock by Brennan Broesch. Phil Hughes buckled down though, getting Alex Avila to swing under a fastball at his knees and Don Kelly to pop out to Robinson Cano in shallow right. This was about as much trouble as Hughes got into all night and he wriggled out of it with relative ease.
4. The Yankees added some insurance runs in the 9th inning; 6 of them to be exact. Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch but erased by a force out grounder by Randy Winn. Greg Golson then picked up his first Major League hit on a soft fly to center and Frankie Cervelli flipped a single to roughly the same spot, scoring Winn and extending the lead to 3-0.
Jeter came up next with the bases loaded and chopped one to the shortstop, but Ramon Santiago came home to prevent the run the scoring. Gardner fell behind 0-2 but eventually hacked an infield single back up the middle that allowed all of the runners to advance and made the score 4-0.
Teixeira then followed with a two run single to shallow center and A-Rod ripped a ribbie double down the left field line, putting the Yanks ahead 7-0.
Rookie Alfredo Figaro, who replaced Phil Coke, uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Teixeira to score. Figaro intentionally walked Robinson Cano (who lead off the inning) and gave an unintentional free pass to Randy Winn, brining up Greg Golson. The rookie would not get his first two Big League hits in the same inning as he lined out to right to end the frame. By that point, it was 8-0 Yankees.
Despite the wide margin, Mariano Rivera pitched for the first time in the month of May and didn't miss a beat, sitting down the side in order. Yanks win eight to zip.
IFs, ANDs & BUTs
- Phil Hughes was excellent again tonight, throwing seven shutout innings. Aside from the trouble in the fourth that we mentioned above, he didn't allow a runner to advance past second base. He struck out eight while allowing just six baserunners (five hits and a walk). Seventy one of his 101 pitches were strikes, as he threw mostly four-seamers (62 of them) and cutters (28) with the occassional curve (11).
- Hughes' pitch count escalated quickly and was at 41 after two innings and 72 through four. However, his final three frames were 6, 6 and 10 and he was able to complete seven strong with a few left in the chamber.
- Jeremy Bonderman didn't pitch badly. He allowed six baserunners and struck out seven over seven innings of two run ball, but like Javy Vazquez earlier today, his offense did him no favors and he got tagged with a tough loss.
- Jay-Z and Eminem were in the booth with Michael Kay and Ken Singleton during the bottom of the 4th inning. I was in a bar at the time without the sound on but will most certainly rewatch it later and figure out a way to make fun of it.
- Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless eighth inning and - surprise, surprise - was back down to his normal velocity of 95 or so with his fastball. He did have three extremely nasty sliders that clocked in at 89, 90 and 88. The first one got Scott Sizemore to ground out to to third and the last two induced whiffs from Magglio Ordonez.
- Mark Teixeira went 2-5 with 3 RBIs and a run scored.
- Brett Gardner also had an excellent night, going 3-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
- My favorite Brett moment was when he tagged up from first on a long fly ball all the way back to the warning track by Mark Teixeira. Austin Jackson was tracking it the whole way back and Gardner, knowing he was going to catch it, was back on first base when it hit his glove and essentially stole second on the throw.
- Pena's walk in the 9th was his first time on base all day. He was bad at the plate and might have looked even worse when he struck out swinging on a slider in the dirt in the 7th that wasn't even close.
- Phil Coke, who entered today's game with a 1.69 ERA, was at the center of the 9th inning meltdown. He was charged with 4 runs in an inning and a third and now sports a much less impressive ERA of 3.63.
- While it appeared that Nick Swisher was pulled in favor of Randy Winn for defensive purposes in the 8th, it turns out that he actually left the game with a sore biceps and is day-to-day. This streak of injuries would be funny if... actually there are no circumstances under which it would be funny at this point. MAKE IT STOP, GOD, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!
It's another matinée tomorrow (1:05) and if all goes well we should be doing a live chat for it.