Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pinstripes Pound Pirates

The Yankees fell behind the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 after the 1st inning at PNC Park yesterday, and Michael Pineda allowed runs again in the 4th and the 5th, to make it 3-0 Pittsburgh. It began to look like all our early momentum would dissipate in a sweep by a team that came in 6-9.

Then came the top of the 6th inning. Jacoby Ellsbury beat out a grounder to 2nd. Aaron Hicks walked. Chase Headley moved the runners over with a groundout to 1st. And Starlin Castro cranked a home run to left field, his 4th dinger of the season. Tie game.

Aaron Judge nearly hit another home run, and ended up on 2nd base. Greg Bird was hit by a pitch. Austin Romine singled to shallow center, to load the bases. Ronald Torreyes cracked a double to right, scoring Judge and Bird. 5-3 Yankees.

This being an Interleague game in a National League park, there was no designated hitter, and Joe Girardi pinch-hit for Pineda. For the bottom of the 6th, he brought in Jonathan Holder, who did not live up to his name: He couldn't hold the lead, and the Pirates tied it up.

Top of the 8th. Two out. Romine hit a grounder to 2nd baseman Adam Frazier that should have ended the inning. But Frazier booted it. The Yankee bats didn't need a written invitation to put an end to it. Torreyes singled. Girardi sent Chris Carter to pinch-hit for Dellin Betances, who'd gotten the last 2 outs of the 7th. Carter hit his 1st Yankee home run to center field. 8-5 Yankees.

Ellsbury hit one to center, and Andrew McCutchen, the best player the Pirates have had since the pre-steroids Barry Bonds, botched it, and Ellsbury ended up on 3rd. Pirate manager Clint Hurdle pulled pitcher Felipe Rivero, and brought in Antonio Bastardo, who promptly uncorked a wild pitch. (Aside from champagne and wild pitches, nothing is ever "uncorked.") 9-5. Hicks hit a ground rule double. Headley doubled him home. 10-5.

And then, in the top of the 9th, the cherry on the sundae. It was totally meaningless, but it was still fun to see: Judge hit his 6th homer of the season -- it was only April 22 -- and it was a monster mash to left-center, measured at 460 feet.

Final score: Yankees 11, Pirates 5. WP: Betances (2-1). No save. LP: Rivero (1-1).

The series concludes this afternoon at 1:35. Rookie Jordan Montgomery starts for the Yankees, against former Yankee Ivan Nova. Come on you Bombers!

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