This was only a night that John Lannan would dream of. This Long Island native pitched his Washington Nationals to victory over his boyhood team, the Yankees.
Lannan befuddled the Yankee hitters throughout nine innings in a 3-2 victory, only the 17th of the season for the Nats.
Chien-Ming Wang took the mound the day after the birth of his son, J.J. Wang and had his best start of the season (Trevor will disagree with me). Wang went five innings, allowing six hits, three runs, walking two and striking out four. He also induced 10 groundballs, which means his sinker is starting to work effectively.
Unfortunately for Wang, the Yankee hitters had no patience tonight, going out early in their at-bats and not showing any patience in Lannan’s first career start against the Yankees. Lannan kept the Yankees hitless for four until Robinson Cano hit a solo shot to right field. That was the only score the Yankees would get until the ninth inning. In the ninth, Johnny Damon hit a lead-off home run to make it a 3-2 game, and Mark Teixeira hit a single between third and shortstop to bring up Alex Rodriguez. Brett Gardner pinch ran for Tex and stole second and third on consecutive pitches, bringing the fans into a frentzy. A-Rod walked, bringing up the star of the night (so far) in Cano.
Cano fought against MacDougal and fouled off four straight 2-2 pitches before grounding out into a double play to end the game.
I was at the game tonight with my sister and daughter and in between being mesmerized by my surroundings, I think Wang did a good job — his best start of the season. If not for the boneheaded play by Melky Cabrera diving for a ball he would not have gotten, the score would have been either 1-1 or 2-1 in favor of the Nats and the Yankees would probably have won.
While Wang came out in the sixth, Phil Hughes proved to be an effective arm out of the bullpen, throwing in the mid 90s on the gun, going two innings and striking out two. Phil Coke went 1.1 innings, striking out three and Al Aceves came in the top of the ninth and retired the two batters he faced easily. This just continues to prove to me that the bullpen is getting better and better, and that is because the pen now knows the role they need to perform in order to secure victory.
While tonight was an embarassing loss, it is not the end of the season. The Yankees now sit three games behind Boston (big deal). Joba Chamberlain takes the mound in the rubber match of the series at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday.