Saturday, April 26, 2014

J.R. Murphy's Law Convicts Angels With Dirty Faces

The Yankees needed to bounce back from last night's 13-1 pasting by the Los Angeles Angels of Katella Boulevard, Anaheim, Orange County, California, United States of America, North America, Western Hemisphere, Earth, Sol System, Sector 001, United Federation of Planets, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Galactic Group, Known Universe.

And starting Vidal Nuno was not a good idea. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't leave him in the Ivan Nova slot in the rotation on a permanent basis. As Hiroki Kuroda did not last night, Nuno did not get out of the 5th inning, allowing 3 runs.

Fortunately, the bullpen stepped up. Dellin Betances pitched 2 innings, Shawn Kelly an inning and a third, Matt Thornton a third, and David Robertson 1 -- all scoreless.

That allowed the bats the chance to make the difference. With 1 out in the bottom of the 2nd, and the Angels up 1-0 on a home run by the pride of South Jersey, Millville native Mike Trout, Angel starter Hector Santiago hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch. He then allowed a single to Brett Gardner, and walked Brian Roberts on 4 straight pitches to load the bases. He got Kelly Johnson to fly to left, and Teix couldn't score. Another Yankee RISPfail?

Nope: Santiago balked, and that scored Teix. The batter was J.R. Murphy, a Princeton University graduate from Florida, about to turn 23, called up as a backup catcher, wearing Number 66. And he singled home Gardner and Roberts. 3-1 Yankees.

The Angels tied it in the 4th, but John Ryan Murphy, leading off the bottom of the 5th, hit his first major league home run, and that made the difference. Murphy laying down the law. (But not -- yet -- laying down a bunt.)

The Angels threatened in the 9th, with Trout singling off Robertson, but he got Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick out to end the threat.

Yankees 4, Angels 3. WP: Betances (1-0). SV: Robertson (3). LP: Santiago (0-4).

As I write this, the Yankees are 14-10, 2 games ahead of Baltimore, 2 1/2 ahead of Boston, 3 ahead of Toronto, and 3 1/2 ahead of Tampa Bay.

The series concludes tomorrow night, as the Sunday night ESPN game. Masahiro Tanaka starts against Garrett Richards. Then, the Yankees have a day off, before the Seattle Mariners come to town.

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