The Yankees started a six game road trip by pounding out 16 hits that scored 10 runs in the first game of a three-game series against the Twins in Minnesota. And, all that production was accomplished without any homers hit by the Bronx Bombers.
The scoring began early, with the Yankees first run crossing the plate in the top of the first on singles by Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and, a RBI single by Hideki Matsui for the 1-0 lead.
Then, in the top of the second, the Yanks continued to get hits and runs off Twins starter Scott Baker, when Robinson Cano led off the inning with a double; advanced to third on an infield single by Brett Gardner; and scored on a high-arching sacrifice-fly down the left field line by Francisco Cervelli that increased the lead to 2-0.
Jeter made the second out on a fly ball to right, before Johnny Damon kept the inning going with an infield hit on a ball that bounced over the pitchers head. This set-up a first and third situation for Teixeira who got a broken-bat, RBI single through the hole between short and third that scored Gardner with the Yankees third run of the game.
Alex Rodriguez ended the rally with a swinging strike three. But, the Yanks now led 3-0.
In the bottom of the second, Michael Cuddyer hit a homer into the left field seats off Yankees starter CC Sabathia to cut the Yankees lead to 3-1. This was Cuddyer’s 14th homerun of the season.
The Yankees opened up the lead even more in the 4th inning, knocking out the Twins starting pitcher in the process.
Cervelli led off the inning with a single, followed by walks to both Jeter and Damon, that loaded the bases, and finished Scott Baker’s night on the mound.
Brian Duensing now entered the game, and retired Teixeira on a pop up to first base for out number one.
Rodriguez was up next, and on the first pitch blasted a long shot to straight away center field that looked like it was going out of the park for a grand slam. Twins centerfielder, Carlos Gomez, carefully drifted back to the wall timing the blast perfectly, right in front of the 408 ft sign, as he waited until the last second before leaping up into the air to catch the ball with his glove over the centerfield wall. It was a beautiful catch that became a sac fly, scoring Cervelli, and also advancing Jeter to third while increasing the Yanks lead to 4-1.
Matsui was up next and walked to load the bases again.
Then, Nick Swisher came up to the plate, and on a 3-1 pitch took ball four that forced home the Yankees fifth run.
The bases were still loaded with Robinson Cano up next. Cano was (0-for-21) in his last 21 at bats with runners in scoring position; and, after a long battle at the plate, grounded out to second to end the rally and increase his hitless streak in these situations to (0-for-22). But, the Yankees took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the inning.
CC Sabathia was pitching a great game through five innings, as the game now entered the top of the 6th when the Yankees blew this game wide open.
The 6th inning started off with Damon striking out against Brian Duensing (L, 6-7). Then, Teixeira singled; A-Rod walked; and, Matsui hit a deep fly ball to centerfield that was caught [once again] in front of the 408 ft sign by Gomez for the second out.
Swisher was the next batter, and walked to load the bases [the sixth Yankee walk of the game]. This brought Robinson Cano up to the plate with his (0-for-22) with runners in scoring postion streak still on his mind.
But, this time Cano delivered a clutch, broken bat two RBI single that scored Teixeira and A-Rod, increasing the Yanks lead to 7-1.
Twins Manager, Ron Gardenhire, then brought in reliver R.A. Dickey to pitch to Brett Gardner.
Dickey is a knuckleball pitcher; and, Gardner stroked a knuckler into right centerfield for two-RBI triple, his 5th triple of the year, driving home Swisher and Cano, giving the Yanks a 9-1 lead.
Cervelli then also hit a failed knuckler for a RBI double down the leftfield line, scoring Gardner with the Yankees 10th run of the game.
Jeter was the ninth batter of the inning, and the “captain” struckout to end the Yankees rally. The Bombers now led this contest 10-1.
CC Sabathia (W, 8-5) threw an even 100 pitches over seven solid innings of work, allowing only one run, on three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.
Joe Girardi brought Brett Tomko into pitch the final two innings, and Tomko only had an average outing, giving up the second Twins run, on one hit, one walk, and no strikeouts in his two innings on the mound.
But, Tomko recorded the final out, in this very big 10-2 Yankees victory over the Twins.
The batting stars for the Yankees in this game …
* Mark Teixeira: (4-for-6); one run; one RBI
* Brett Gardner: (3-for-5); including a triple; two runs; two RBI’s
* Francisco Cervelli: (2-for-4); including a double; one run; two RBI’s
* Robinson Cano: (2-for-5); including a double; two runs; two RBI’s
* note: every starter in the lineup got at least one hit in the 16-hit Yankee attack.
This is a great way for the Yankees to start this road trip.
Boston also won today, so the Yankees (49-34) remain one game behind the Red Sox (50-33) in the AL East.
— Jimmy, “BY&L”
Update: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 …
The Yankees won the second game against the Minnesota Twins, 4-3.
A.J. Burnett (8-4) was the winning pitcher.
Mariano Rivera recorded a four-out “save”, his 22nd of the season.
To view boxscore, click on: Yanks 4, Twins 3
The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays also won their games.
So, the Standings in the AL East (as of July 8th) are as follows ..
Red Sox 51-33 .607 —
Yankees 50-34 .595 1.0
Rays 46-39 .541 5.5
Blue Jays 43-43 .500 9.0
Orioles 38-47 .447 13.5
The “race for first” in the AL East continues to heat-up as we head into the summer months of this baseball season. It will be fun to watch !!!
— Jimmy, “BY&L”