Monday, April 10, 2017

Pineda Nearly Perfect as Yanks Win Home Opener!

This afternoon, the Yankees played their home opener at Yankee Stadium, against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was perfect baseball weather. In fact, it was unseasonably warm for April 10. Monument Park honorees Willie Randolph, Joe Torre and Tino Martinez shared the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first balls, and we were underway in The Bronx.

Michael Pineda took the hill for the Pinstripes, and Big Mike (not to be confused with yours truly, Uncle Mike) did some serious dealing. He had a perfect game going through the 1st 6 innings, and that "no-hitter buzz" began going around.

But you gotta back your pitcher up with runs. The Yankees stranded 2 runners in the 1st inning, and blew a leadoff walk with a double play in the 2nd, before tallying in the 3rd. With 1 out, Rays starter Alex Cobb thought he had struck Brett Gardner out, but strike 3 was a wild pitch that got away from catcher Derek Norris, and the speedy Gardner was safe at 1st base. Jacoby Ellsbury was up next, and he nearly hit one out, settling for a double that scored Gardner. Aaron Judge added a home run in the 4th, his 2nd of the season, to make it 2-0 Yankees in the 6th.

Pineda finally cracked with 2 out in the 7th, allowing a double to Evan Longoria. Since it was still only 2-0 Yankees, now there was the concern that the Yankees might blow the lead. But Pineda struck Brad Miller out to end the threat. Chase Headley led off the bottom of the 7th with a home run, his 2nd, making it 3-0.

Joe Girardi led Pineda start the 8th. With 1 out, he gave up a home run to Logan Morrison. Girard probably should have taken him out there, instead of taking him out after he got another out. Pineda struck out 11, with no walks. Girardi brought Tyler Clippard in, and he finished off the 8th with the score at 3-1 Yankees.

It was hard to believe that Cobb outlasted Pineda. But Gardner again benefited from a fielding miscue, grounding to 2nd, and reaching on Miller's error. With Ellsbury up, he stole 2nd. Ellsbury lined out. With Matt Holliday up, Gardner stole 3rd. Holliday doubled him home.

After a pitching change, Chris Carter hit a triple, scoring Holliday. Starlin Castro hit a home run, his 1st, also scoring Carter. Headley and Judge singled. Austin Romine grounded to new pitcher Austin Pruitt, who tried to throw Headley out at 3rd, but couldn't. Ronald Torreyes grounded to 3rd, and Judge was out, but Headley scored.

With emergency catcher Kyle Higashioka coming in for his major league debut, to replace Romine, Chasen Shreve came in to relieve, and got the last 3 outs. Yankees 8, Rays 1. WP: Pineda (1-1). No save. LP: Cobb (1-1).

Mr. Sinatra, if you would, please: HIT IT!

The series takes a day off tomorrow, the usual failsafe for a home opener's rainout, and resumes on Wednesday afternoon at 1:05 PM. Luis Severino starts for the Yankees, Blake Snell vs. the Rays.

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