Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pineda, Bullpen Rocked For Eight In Royals 8-5 Game One Win

 In front of a sold out crowd in Kauffman Stadium, the New York Yankees fell to four games over .500 in their game one loss to the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals. Taking the ball and the loss for New York was Michael Pineda, who fell to 6-11 with another vintage Jekyll and Hyde performance tonight. And it wasn't just Pineda who under-performed tonight, the Yankee offense made Royals starter Dillon Gee look like a Cy Young contender, improving to 6-7 with his dominant start in game one of the three-game set.

The Royals jumped on Pineda really early as they opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Jarrod Dyson led off the frame with an infield single, advancing to second on a wild pitch during the next at bat. With one out, Lorenzo Cain ripped a single into center that plated Dyson to make it a 1-0 game. Cain stole second and scored when Kendrys Morales smacked a single to left to extend the first inning lead to two. Salvador Perez followed with another single, advancing Morales to second base. Alex Gordon then ripped the fifth single of the inning to score Morales and put New York in a very early 3-0 hole. The first inning outburst was even more so frustrating considering Pineda would go on to retire the next 15 straight Royals over the following five frames.

The Bomber bats were silenced by Gee through the first three frames but managed to get one of those runs back in the top of the fourth. Didi Gregorius smoked a two-out double into right and then the next batter Starlin Castro unloaded on a Gee fastball and just missed a homerun by a matter of a few feet. Castro thought it was gone and had to bust it around first to make it an RBI double that pulled the Yankees to within two. That ended up being the one and only run Dillon Gee surrendered in his six strong innings of work.

In the bottom of the seventh, Morales hit a single up the middle to break the string of 15 straight batters retired by Pineda.  Salvador Perez followed with a single of his own that ended Big Mike's night as he was pulled for lefty Tommy Lanyne, who immediately got Gordon to ground out to first. With two outs, Layne was pulled for rookie righty Blane Parker, who proceeded to serve up a three run blast to Escobar that broke the game open to 6-1. Because Pineda was responsible for the two runners on base, his final line ended up at six innings pitched, allowing five runs on seven hits while tallying no walks and eight strikeouts. Parker then allowed a sharp single to rookie Raul Mondesi, advancing to second on a Dyson ground out and scoring on a Chestlor Cuthbert single that made it 7-1 Royals. Parker was pulled for the fourth reliever in the inning Kirby Yates, who allowed yet another RBI single to Eric Hosmer, ballooning their lead to seven.

Joe Girardi let out some game-long frustration in the bottom of the eighth as the Yankees tried  to claw their way back into the ball game. Unhappy with several called strike three calls on his batters and missed strike calls for his pitchers, a low strike call during Gregorius's at bat sent the manager over the edge and was sent to the showers as a result of his pent-up frustration laden demonstrative outburst.

As Rob Thompson took over as acting manager, the Yankees put together a small rally to inch themselves back into the game. Ellsbury reached on a catcher's interference, Hicks walked and Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. In the afore mentioned Gregorius at bat, The shortstop lined a double to right that scored Ellsbury and Hicks to make it a five run game. Castro followed with a sac fly that scored Sanchez to pull the Yanks to within slam reach at 8-4. After McCann made the second out of the inning, Chase Headley beat out a throw from the second baseman Mondesi to score Gregorius, making it even more interesting at 8-5. After a walk to pinch-hitter Brett Gardner that brought the tying run to the plate, Kansas City called on Kelvin Herrera to record the final four outs of the game, beginning by getting pinch-hitter Mark Teixeira out on a ground ball to second to end the threat.

Unfortunately, the Yanks late inning efforts were too little too late as Herrera gave up two ninth inning singles but close the door on the Royals game one win. This is the first game of a very important road trip that involves two teams, Kansas City and Baltimore, who are above New York in the race for the Wild Card. If they have any hopes of playing baseball in October, tonight's performance needs to be quickly forgotten, as they turn around to play game two tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 8:15 PM/EST.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)