Monday, April 17, 2017

Lucky Number Seven: Pineda, Bird Lead Yanks to Cardinals Sweep and Seventh Straight

Not even a little Easter Sunday rain in the Bronx could stop Michael Pineda and the Yankees from completing the three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. Pineda, who carried a perfect game into the seventh on Monday, was phenomenal again this evening as he put together New York's seventh consecutive quality starting pitching performance while increasing their winning streak to seven. Adam Wainwright toed the rubber for the Cards tonight and pitched pretty well. But, an awoken Greg Bird bat and a lack of offense from his own squad led the right-hander to collect his second loss of the young season.

Pineda found himself in some early trouble, giving up the lead in the top of the second inning. Jedd Gyorko started it off with a single, advancing to second on a ground out by Randall Grichuk. Greg Garcia collected his first of three hits with a sharp line-drive single to left-center that scored Gyorko to give the Cardinals a one run lead.

But the Bombers were quick to get that run back and then some by taking the lead in the bottom of that same frame. Chase Headley got things going with a ground ball single up the middle, scoring on the evening's first controversial call. The next batter Aaron Judge unloaded on a Wainwright fastball to deep right-center where a fan reached over the fence and interfered with the ball. The original call of homerun was overturned, forcing Judge back to third for a game-tying RBI triple. Greg Bird finally broke out of his early-season futility by collecting his first of two extra-base hits on the night, a titanic blast to right field that looked like it was headed for Manhattan that gave the Yanks their first lead at 3-1.

New York used the homerun ball again in the bottom of the fifth to not only enlarge their advantage but also to knock Wainwright out of the game. Aaron Hicks continued his recent offensive success by blasting a one-out solo shot to right field that widened their lead to three. After giving up another single to Headley, Adam Wainwright was taken out for Matt Bowman, who retired Judge to "stop the bleeding" and end the frame.

Even though he gave up a seventh inning leadoff homerun to Yadier Molina that made it a 4-2 game, Michael Pineda got out of the inning to finish off another outstanding outing. Pineda was tremendous during his second consecutive quality start; tossing seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and just one walk. The big righty turned the game over to his nearly-untouchable bullpen to begin the top of the eighth.

After Dellin Betances got through the eighth cleanly, the Yankee offense stayed white-hot and blew the game wide open in the bottom of the frame. Headley and Judge started the rally with back to back walks, advancing a base to load them up on Greg Bird's third hit(a single) of the night. Austin Romine then laced a double into the right-center field gap that scored both Headley and Judge to make it 6-2. The next better Ronald Torreyes followed up with his own two-run double, this one down the left-field line that scored Bird and Romine to open their lead up to four. Torreyes scored the final run of the inning on a sac fly by Aaron Hicks that made it a 9-2 ballgame.

Because of the large lead, Brian Mitchell came on to pitch the ninth inning. And although the righty gave up his first run of the season, he was able to close the door on any St. Louis hopes of a miracle comeback and locked down the Yankees second consecutive sweep and seventh straight victory.

New York welcomes in the Chicago White Sox tomorrow night for a three-game set, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM/EST.

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