As we await another snow storm here in the New York area this weekend, the Yankees played a spring training game today against the Minnesota Twins in Tampa Bay, Florida.
At the start of the game the weather was perfect for baseball down in Florida, as the New York temperature hovered around the mid-30’s. So, watching this game on the Yes Network is the closest I will get to the beautiful sunny Florida weather on this day.
Joba Chamberlain started this game for the Yankees, the first Yankee starter to make an appearance in a game this spring. He only pitched one inning, and it was not a good outing.
Chamberlain faced six batters, threw 21 pitches, allowed three hits, and two runs.
The Twins lead off batter, Denard Span, grounded out to third base on a 3-2 pitch; then, Delmon Young singled, followed by back-to-back doubles by Jason Kubel and Brian Buscher, that gave the Twins an early 2-0 lead. Both doubles were hit very hard, on high fastballs up in the zone over the plate.
Joba retired the next two batters on ground balls, ending his work for the day.
The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the first on a Derek Jeter single; a RBI double by Mark Teixeira, and sac fly by Alex Rodriguez.
The Twins took the lead back, 3-2, on a long, two-out, solo homerun, by Carlos Gomez off Dan Giese, in the top of the second inning.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Yankees played a little “small-ball” to even the score, 3-3.
Shelley Duncan, a late replacement for Jorge Posada as the DH because Jorge’s shoulder was a little sore, led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Melky Cabrera, that ended up being an infield single when Melky beat the throw to first.
Then, Johnny Damon layed down another perfect bunt, moving Duncan and Melky to second and third with Jeter coming up to the plate. Derek delivered a sac fly RBI to drive home Duncan with the tying run.
Now, that has to be my first choice for the “Rare Moment of the Game Award”. When was the last time the Yankees scored a run on two sacrifice bunt attempts and a sac-fly RBI ??? A very rare “small-ball” moment for these New York Yankees. I hope we see more of this type of “Billyball” play this season.
Giese got knocked around again in the top of the third, as the Twins pounded him for three hits and a walk, scoring three more runs to increase their lead to 6-3.
After the third inning, the game really settled down without any more scoring throughout the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.
Both teams used many pitchers in this game, and after the first couple of innings, when Joba, Giese, and Twins starter, Francisco Liriano were not very effective, the rest of the pitchers have pitched fairly well.
For the Yankees, Jose Veras and Michael Dunn pitched a scorelees inning apiece; and, Kei Igawa retired six straight batters in his two innings of work.
The Yankees entered the bottom of the 7th inning with ten straight batters retired by Twins pitchers.
Melky led off the 7th by reaching first base on an error. Then, a fly-out to center, and a double-play ended the inning with the Twins still leading, 6-3.
After a scoreless 8th inning by both teams, the Twins scored another run in the top of the 9th on a sac-fly, to move their lead to 7-3.
The SF was the second out of the inning, but the Yankees made an appeal at second base claiming the runner on second left too soon trying to advance to third. And, the runner was called “out” by the second base ump. The run counted, though, because the appeal was the third out of the inning, and the runner already crossed the plate before this third out was recorded.
So, in a game that was really “not” that exciting, and kind of dragging along since the end of the third inning, the fans that continued to watch this game into the 9th inning, received a little bonus by seeing a “very rare” baseball play. How many times are appeals to any base “successful”? … Well, in this game, the runner was called out on the appeal at second.
The Twins quickly retired the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th, and that was the ball game.
Twins 7, Yankees 3.
“Rare Moment of the Game Award” …
Two Awards this game:
* Small-Ball by the New York Yankees in the second inning, scoring a run on three straight sacrifice attempts: a sac-bunt by Melky Cabrera that ended up being an infield single, advancing Duncan to second; then, a sac-bunt by Damon, moving Duncan and Melky to second and third; setting up the “captain” Derek Jeter’s RBI sac-fly, to tie this game, 3-3, at the time.
* The 9th inning appeal by the Yankees, after the Twins scored their 7th run when the runner on third scored on a sac-fly. On that play, which recorded the second out of the inning, the Twins runner at second base also tried to advance to third, but was called “out” for leaving second base too soon. The run did count, though, because the appeal was the “third out” of the inning, and the run had already scored before the succesful appeal ended the inning.