The Yanks made is six in a row last night with a 8-5 win over the Seattle Mariners in the Bronx. The win improves the Yanks to 44-32, a season-high 12 games over .500.
Joba Chamberlain started for the Yanks and was pretty unimpressive. Once again he had trouble throwing finding the strike zone and fell into too many deep counts. He needed 96 pitches – only 55 strikes – to get through just 5.1 innings.
Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada started the second with back-to-back singles. Hideki Matsui then hit a slow tapper towards third. Cano scored the Yanks first run on a Seattle error. The Yanks got their second run on a Melky Cabrera sac fly to deep left-center.
Seattle came back with one of their own in the top of the third when Joba left a fastball up to Ronny Cedeno who sent the ball into the left field seats for his third homer of the year.
A single and two walks loaded the bases for the Yanks in the fourth and then Melky extended the Yanks lead back to two when he drove in a run with a force out.
Seattle would then tie the game with two runs off Joba in the fifth.
The Yanks would go to the pen with one out in the sixth, bringing in Phil Coke, retiring both hitters he faced. Phil Hughes then came on for the seventh and needed just nine pitched to breeze through the inning. His stuff continues to be very impressive out of the pen, tonight hitting 96 with his fastball and curveball.
Alex Rodriguez then gave the Yanks a lead in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run homer.
Next, I believe Girardi made a very stupid move – what he later says was “rote” move (quotes my own words). He took out Hughes and put in Brian Bruney in the game.
Gutierrez singled, Woodward singled, and Jojima singled. Just like that the M’s had cut the lead to 5-4 and had two on and nobody out. Cedeno then moved the runners over and Bruney intentionally walked Ichiro to load the bases. Branyan tied the game with a sac fly and Bruney then got out of the inning by getting Jose Lopez to ground into a force.
Bottom line: Bruney sucked last night as the set-up man, and people question Girardi’s reasons for taking out Hughes with only 9 pitches.
In the end it didn’t matter because the Yanks came back with three runs to regain the lead. Matsui led off with a double and Nick Swisher reached on a bunt single and the Yanks were set up. Melky then stepped up and drove in his third run of the contest with an RBI double into the right-centerfield gap. Derek Jeter then put the game away with a two-run single over the drawn in infield.
Mariano Rivera made it save 501 last night with a very quick and easy ninth inning. He retired the M’s in order and needed just 11 pitches to do so.
After Baltimore came back from behind being down 9 runs to win 11-10 over Boston, the Yanks are now just 2.5 behind Boston.