Monday, May 13, 2013

No Away Goals Rule in Baseball, Yanks Split Makeup Doubleheader

Not since they last opened the season in Japan had the Yankees played a game so early, Eastern Time.  The back-to-back snowouts last month forced them to fill a day off with 2 games in Cleveland.

I like Cleveland, and I don't think it deserves its reputation as a bad city. That said, there are better places to spend a Monday afternoon.

In the opener at Jacobs -- I mean, Progressive Field, David Phelps did what we asked him to do, pitch very well.  He got into the 7th, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits -- but 5 walks, 7 strikeouts.  Can't blame him for a defeat.

You could blame manager Joe Girardi for starting a "Baby Bomber" lineup, including Phelps on the mound.  But no, instead of blaming anyone, give credit to the opposition.  Justin Masterson was brilliant for the Indians, going the distance, allowing just 7 baserunners.  In the top of the 2nd, with 2 outs, he got into a jam, allowing singles to Chris Nelson and Chris Stewart (an infield single) around a walk to Corban Joseph.  But Masterson struck out Alberto Gonzalez.  (No, not the Bush Attorney General who loved torture, that was Alberto Gonzales, with an S on the end.)

Masterson allowed no more baserunners until the 6th, a leadoff single by Brett Gardner.  Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a force play, and got to 2nd on a wild pitch, but got no further.  The Yankees threatened in the 8th, with Lyle Overbay drawing a 1-out walk, but Masterson got out of it.  With 2 out in the 9th, Brennan Boesch singled to left, but Masterson got Vernon Wells out to end it.

Indians 1, Yankees 0.  WP: Masterson (6-2).  LP: Phelps (1-2).

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The nightcap was another story.  The 1 run the Yankees couldn't get in the first game, they got in the 1st inning of the 2nd game.  With 1 out, Jayson Nix and Robinson Cano singled, and Nix got to 3rd on a throwing error.  Wells grounded into a forceout, and that got Nix home, putting Trevor Bauer in the hole for Cleveland (1-2).

That was all Vidal Nuno needed.  With 3 major league innings to his credit before the game, the 25-year-old lefty from the San Diego area made his first major league start, and got his first major league win.  He only went 5 innings before Girardi pulled him, but he allowed 3 hits and 3 walks, and no runs (1-0).  Adam Warren went the rest of the way, 4 innings 2 hits, no walks, no runs, for his first major league save.

So the Yankees won, 1-0, after losing, 1-0? Is this Champions League soccer? Does the away goals rule apply?

Even if it did, it wouldn't matter: The Yanks exploded for 6 runs in the 7th: Joseph led off with a double, Gonzalez popped up a bunt, Austin Romine doubled home Joseph, Gardner walked, Nix singled home Romine, Cano struck out, Wells singled home Gardner, Overbay doubled home Nixon and Wells, and Overbay scored on a throwing error on a Ben Frnancisco grounder -- the error by Mark Reynolds, who drove the Yankees nuts last year for Baltimore, and has been doing very well for Cleveland thus far, but blew it on that play.

So it was Yankees 7, Indians 0.

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So the longest 4-game series in Yankee history is over.  Tonight, they fly back home, to start a series against the Seattle Mariners.

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