Sunday, April 20, 2014

Yankees Win in Extras

This was a tight game through and through, as the score was tied from the seventh inning on with each team scoring one run. For the Yankees, until the twelfth inning their only run came on an RBI double by Brett Gardner that was inches away from being a two-run home run. Nevertheless, Gardner was responsible for even having the Yankees win this game in the first place by putting them on the board on an otherwise offense-less day. The Rays tied the score at 1 in the seventh which started on a ground ball that was a sure double play that would have ended the inning but Brian Roberts bobbled the ball at second base and was not able to get any outs, eventually leading to a Matt Joyce sac fly that tied the game until the 12th inning. Both teams had their chances throughout, but the big blow came from a no-contact play as Rays manager Joe Maddon intentionally loaded the bases in the 12th inning for Dean Anna with two outs. Anna fought off pitch after pitch and ended up walking on a 3-2 count, forcing in the go-ahead run. The Yankees would continue to pour it on with two outs as Beltran collected a two-run single up the middle and Alfonso Soriano singled in a run as well on a bloop hit into shallow right field. Newly called up Preston Claiborne got the win after pitching two scoreless innings for the Yankees. However, the most important reliever for the Yankees was Shawn Kelley who pitched the ninth and tenth innings and struck out four batters in a row to close out the tenth.

Lefty Vidal Nuno gave the Yankees exactly what they needed; five scoreless innings striking out six and allowing only three hits and was able to get out of a jam early in the game. With Ivan Nova's elbow ligament tear, the Yankees will remember what Nuno did today in their decision on who the new fifth starter will be. Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno are certainly frontrunners but David Phelps has been pitching better of late to make Girardi's decision a difficult one.

The Yankees will have a day off tomorrow after playing a four-and-a-half hour game today in Tampa. They will make their first trip to Fenway Park, Ellsbury's first visit back to Fenway since signing with the Yankees this offseason. Knowing the Boston fans, they will give Ellsbury no mercy which should motivate the center fielder to get some big hits against his old team. Masahiro Tanaka will make the start on Tuesday, which will be highly watched as people want to see if he can shut down one of the most potent offenses in baseball.

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