Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Yanks Survive Nuno Start, Weak Bats, to Beat Mariners

My Grandma -- a Dodger fan turned Met fan from Queens, whose 90th birthday would have been last week -- said, "It's not how good you are when you play good, it's how good you are when you play bad." In other words, if you can win even when you don't play well, you'll do all right.

Last night, the Yankees started Vidal Nuno against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, and nearly every Yankee Fan was in full Ned Stark mode: "Brace yourself: The baseball equivalent of winter is coming."

And, sure enough, Nuno was not the winning pitcher.

But it wasn't his fault at all. He actually pitched well: 5 2/3 innings, 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk. The problem was, again, the Yankees weren't hitting.

First inning singles by Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira were followed by a double by Carlos Beltran that scored Jeter, and a single by Brian McCann that scored Teix. That made it 2-0 Yankees.

But after that, the Yankees stranded runners on 1st & 3rd. They had a man on 1st with 1 out in the 2nd, men on 1st & 2nd with 2 out in the 5th, and a man on 1st with 1 out in the 6th, but none of those men scored.

And in the bottom of the 6th, the Mariners got to Nuno, and Joe Girardi pulled him for Dellin Betances, who's usually been good this season. Betances got out of the jam, but allowed the tying run in the 7th.

There are people who believe that a pitcher who blows a lead should not be declared the winning pitcher, even if he was the pitcher when his team went on to take the final lead of the game. This is what happened with Betances.

With 1 out in the 8th, Jeter hit a ground-rule double. (Career hit Number 3,372, in case you still care, nearly 3 years after he got Number 3,000.) Ellsbury singled him home to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

Girardi didn't let Betances pitch any further, sending Adam Warren out for the 8th. He allowed a hit, but that was it. David Robertson got the first 2 outs in the 9th, then allowed a walk, before ending it.

WP: Betances (4-0). SV: Robertson (15). LP: Hisashi Iwakuma (4-3).

Also, before the game, the Mariners, featuring former teammate Robinson Cano (who still has only 2 home runs, 2 more than I do and the same as Brian Roberts, his successor as Yankee 2nd baseman), gave Jeter a nice watch and a $5,000 check for his Turn 2 Foundation.

The series is about to continue, with Masahiro Tanaka starting for the Yankees, against Chris Young.

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