(Why does it look like Gregorius is trying to hit Drew on the head with a helmet?)
Once again, the Yankees scored a lot of runs in a series before they had to play the Boston Red Sox. This is especially worrisome to me when the game is at Fenway Park.
The Yankees staked Nathan Eovaldi to a quick 7-0 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury seems to be waking up at the right time, as he hit his 7th home run of the season in the 2nd inning, scoring 3 runs. Chase Headley (his 10th) and Stephen Drew (his 16th) both hit 2-run homers in the 3rd.
Drew, well, drew a bases-loaded walk in the 5th, making it 8-2 Yankees. But Eovaldi ran into trouble in the 6th, allowing a single, a double, and a 2-RBI single. Joe Girardi took him out for Adam Warren, and he allowed another run before putting an end to it, making it 8-5, and worrying Yankee Twitter.
But the Yankees exploded in the top of the 7th. With 1 out, Headley walked, Didi Gregorius was hit with a pitch, Drew singled to load the bases, Alex Rodriguez singled home Headley and Gregorius, Chris Young was sent in to pinch-run for A-Rod, Ellsbury struck out, Brett Gardner singled home Drew, Carlos Beltran singled to load the bases, Brian McCann singled home Young and Gardner, Greg Bird doubled home Beltran, Headley doubled home McCann and Bird, Gregorius walked (a rare feat, reaching base twice in one inning without a hit), and Drew singled home Headley. 9 runs on 8 hits.
Branden Pinder was brought in to relieve in the 7th, Girardi figuring that even Branden Pinder can't blow a 12-run lead. But Pinder and did what he does: He allowed a home run. Making it 17-6.
He did no more damage, and the Yankees scored 3 more runs in the 8th, on a sacrifice fly by Bird, a double by Pinder (yes, he undid his damage in this NL-park, no-DH game), and a single by Gregorius.
Yankees 20, Braves 6. WP: Eovaldi (14-2). No save. LP: Julio Teheran (9-7). Every Yankee starter got at least 1 hit, except for Eovaldi, and with A-Rod's pinch-hit we did get a hit from that spot in the order. Every Yankee starter, including Eovaldi, scored at least 1 run. Every Yankee starter except Beltran and Eovaldi got at least 1 RBI, and A-Rod's pinch-hit gave us RBIs from every spot in the order except Beltran's.
And Drew's average, below the Mendoza Line of .200 all season long, is now up to .201. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles.
So, with 5 weeks remaining in the regular season, here's how everything stands:
The Yankees trail those pesky Toronto Blue Jays -- peskier than at any time since October 1993 -- by a game and a half in the American League Eastern Division, just 1 in the all-important loss column. It's become a 2-team race: The Tampa Bay Rays are 10 games behind, the Baltimore Orioles 11, and the Red Sox 14.
(What has happened to the Orioles? Is it just the natural phenomenon of a Buck Showalter-managed team, that they went as far as they could go, and no more, and now need a new manager to finish the job?)
The Kansas City Royals have pretty much wrapped up the AL Central, leading the Minnesota Twins by 13 games.
The AL West is far from wrapped up, as the Houston Astros lead the Texas Rangers by 3 games and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by 6 1/2.
The Mets still lead the National League East, by 5 1/2 games over the Washington Nationals, 5 in the loss column.
The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball, but have not wrapped up the NL Central, as the Pittsburgh Pirates are just 4 1/2 games back.
It's yet another Dodger-Giant showdown, as Los Angeles leads the NL West over San Francisco by 3 1/2.
If the current standings hold to the end of the season, the Wild Card play-in games will be the Rangers at the Yankees, and the Chicago Cubs at the Pirates.
Off to Boston. Bring on The Scum. Let's hope we don't need some of those 20 runs. After all, what good is scoring 20 runs against the Braves when the Jays also won, if we can't score enough runs on the Red Sox to stay even with, or even gain a game on, the team we're chasing?
Even if it isn't the Red Sox this time. You know the old saying: "In these games, you can throw out the records."
Certainly, this time, the Sox would like to do that.