This was a horrible day before the game even started. In fact, the game itself doesn't really matter. We all know what happened, have ready numerous reports and thoughts about it, so I'm just going to say that the Yankees scattered 13 hits but were only able to plate 3 runs. Phelps made his first start, and while his line isn't going to "wow" anybody (4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K), I think it was a pretty good debut. I look forward to his next start.
Derek Jeter led off the game with his 13th lead-off hit. The Captain ended up with 2 hits in 5 at bats, including a home run, giving him a .404 batting average so far this season. It's incredible what Jeter has been able to do, and it's hilarious how many "experts" were calling him "finished". Mark Teixeira hit a 2-run homer his his first at bat, giving the Yankees a quick 2-0 lead. Unfortunately Sabathia coughed up that lead just as quickly, as he gave up a single and a run-scoring double before recording an out in the bottom of the 1st. After getting Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer to get out, Jeff Francoeur doubled in Alex Gordon to tie the game.
Yankee fans were groaning, as it looked like the offense was going to need to really wake up, and that's not something we've seen recently out of the Yankee hitters. Thankfully CC settled down and threw another 7 innings, giving up five more hits, and striking out a total of 5 with 0 walks.
In the top of the 7th inning the bats did indeed wake up, as Cano led off the inning with a single. Even after Jones lined out, and Nix popped out, the team didn't give up. Eduardo Nunez tripled to drive in Cano, Chris Stewart followed that up with a run-scoring single, and that was when Derek Jeter homered to cap off a four-run inning. CC did his thing for two more innings, and then Robertson came in to strike out the three batters he faced to give the Yanks a nice win.
It wasn't the Hiroki Kuroda we saw three starts ago, when he got lit up by the Twins for six earned runs over 4.1 innings, but Hiro wasn't at his best on Saturday either. Kuroda ended up giving the Yankees only 4.1 innings, giving up three runs (two earned), off of six hits and three walks. Cody Eppley came into the game, after Rapada got the lone batter he faced to to fly out to right field, but allowed 2 more runs to score thanks to a hit and a walk. The highlight pitching-wise was Freddy Garcia's first appearance out of the bullpen, as he went 2 innings without allowing a hit, while walking one and striking one out.
The Yankee offense was able to match the Royals hit-wise, but left 14 men on base, and were 0-for-9 with RISP. Curtis Granderson was able to contribute a couple of hits, both of them being lead-off doubles, but each time the next three batters got out. Russell Martin also had a good day at the plate, going 3-for-4, including a home run in the 7th inning.
The Royals went up 2-1 in the series, which is certainly not something you want to do against at team that was 7-16 coming into the things.
After Phil Hughes' last start, fans were writing him off as a starter. And rightfully so, as the guy had an ERA of 7.48, and a WHIP over 1.615. Hughes was actually giving up 11.6 hits per 9 innings, and 2.9 home runs per 9 innings. So when Mariano Rivera was lost before the game on Thursday, fans started saying the time was right to move Phil into the bullpen... where he thrived. Well, apparently, Hughes did not like that plan. The guy Yankee fans used to refer to has "Philthy" went 6.2 innings, giving up only six hits and three earned runs, while only walking one and striking out seven. What made the start even better was that Phil threw 115 pitches, which was a much better pace than he showed this season up to that point.
The Royals were able to score one more run after back to back singles, with a passed ball in between them. But would the bats come through?
Seeing that 16 men were left on base in the game you might think not. However the team was able to round up 12 hits, and drew six walks against five strikeouts. On top of that the team was able to come up with four hits, out of 11 opportunities, with RISP. Derek Jeter came up with his 14th lead-off hit, but was left on base when the next three Yankee hitters couldn't put together a quality at bat. Jeter ended up going 2-for-3 in the game, and scored two runs, but it wasn't enough to get his batting average up to .400 again. It only sits at .397 (insert sarcastic frowny-face here). Granderson was able to give the team a couple of hits as well. But the nicest thing to see ARod and Cano, the #3 and #4 hitters in this game, go a combined 4-for-9 with three runs scored, and seven RBI (four of them came from Cano's grand slam in the 3rd inning).
It ended up giving the Yanks a split in the series, but that won't be good enough. Let's use this game as a catapult into something better.
Jake Taylor Award*
Derek Jeter - 8/17, 6 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 2 2B
Jayson Nix - 0/6, 2 K
Rick Vaughn Award*
CC Sabathia - Game 2: 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Hiroki Kuroda - Game 3: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
vs. Rays 5/8 - 5/10
*The awards are named after one of the best baseball movies of all time... Major League.
Jake Taylor Award - Awarded to the most valuable position player. Named after the hard-nose veteran catcher that, despite making the league minimum, was the heart and soul of the 1989 American League East winning Cleveland Indians.
Gentry Award - Awarded to the least valuable position player. Named after the very first man cut from the 1989 Cleveland Indians, #47 Gentry. A man so insignificant he wasn't even given a first name.
Rick Vaughn - Awarded to the best pitcher in the series. This one is, of course, named after the "Wild Thing". The man that made Clu Haywood look silly in the division deciding game.
Kelner Award - Awarded to the worst pitcher in the series. Named after the Opening Day starter for the '89 Indians. Not a good game for Mr. Kelner, as Indians' announcer Harry Doyle famously quipped "thank God" after Kelner left the game. And yet another bad player without a first name.