It’s only May, but the Yankees are tied for first on top of their division. The Yankees used to shrug these kind of things off, but not anymore. The Yankees have not shared or held first since the last day of the regular season in 2006. Last night, Hideki Matsui and his teammates helped produce the offense needed and starting pitcher AJ Burnett had a decent outing to pick up his long suffering “W” after a month and half drought — in a 9-2 win over the Texas Rangers.
Mark Teixeira connected in the first inning on a two-run home run to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead they would never give up. In the second inning, Jeter doubled to bring home Kevin Cash. Godzilla added the first of his two home runs in the sixth, with Cash adding on a two-run single to give Burnett a 6-0 lead. That’s where I started to watch the game.
Burnett was taken out after the 6th (he had 118 pitches), and while I was watching Jose Veras choke up again, I was thinking about the bullpen and who they have. Phil Coke has been pitching a lot lately. Ramirez hasn’t been good, Aceves just pitched, and Rivera was available, but not in the 7th inning. Aha! David Robertson! He came in after Veras lost the shutout on a two-run homer to Ian Kinsler and Robertson retired the two batters he faced, and made it look easy.
Godzilla added another homer, this time a two-RBI hit. This was his first two-homer game since July 31, 2007.
A bright light in last night’s game was the return of Chien-Ming Wang. He came in for the last two frames and was very good. His velocity was in the low 90s’ and his sinkerball was moving well. The commentators on ESPN2 were talking about how in spring training Wang was only doing stationary bike exercises and no running and that his leg strength wasn’t there since his injury last June. So when Wang went back to the minor league complex and on the DL, he worked on his leg strength and that has given him the confidence back because he has the leg strength now to bolster his sinkerball.
Is Wang ready yet? No, but he’s getting there.
Robinson Cano hit a solo shot in the 9th to give the Yanks their final run of the game.
With their win and Boston’s wild loss last night, the Yankees are in first place.
The Yanks are off today before starting a four-game series in Cleveland. Andy Pettitte takes the mound against last year’s Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee at 7:05pm on Friday.
|Rodriguez, A, 3B||4||0||1||0||1||0||4||.258|
|1-Ran for Matsui in the 9th.|
2B: Cash (2, Holland), Jeter (11, Holland), Rodriguez, A (4, Holland), Cano (13, Madrigal).
HR: Teixeira (15, 1st inning off Holland, 1 on, 1 out), Matsui 2 (7, 6th inning off Holland, 0 on, 0 out; 7th inning off Madrigal, 1 on, 0 out), Cano (9, 9th inning off Benson, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Jeter 4; Teixeira 5; Rodriguez, A 2; Cano 6; Matsui 8; Swisher; Gardner 2; Cash 3.
RBI: Teixeira 2 (39), Jeter (22), Matsui 3 (18), Cash 2 (3), Cano (28).
2-out RBI: Jeter.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Damon; Cano 2; Rodriguez, A.
Team RISP: 3-for-9.
Team LOB: 10.
|Burnett (W, 3-2)||6.0||3||0||0||4||7||0||4.78|