GAME 72: It’s on now. The pitching has been there, but the bats are finally coming around.
Carlos Beltran had his breakout ‘Yankee moment’ tonight, with a dramatic walk-off 3-run homer that erased a 3-2 deficit, resulting in a 5-3 New York victory.
Hiroki Kuroda took a no-no into the sixth inning, then the wheels came off. The Orioles banged out 4 hits, taking a 2-1 lead. But it was yet another fine outing overall for Kuroda, who finished with 2 earned runs, striking out 6 and allowing only one walk in a 107-pitch effort. Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez settled down after a shaky start, limiting the Yanks to 1 run over 5.2 innings. He was replaced in the 6th by T.J. McFarland who kept the Yanks scoreless over his 2 innings of work.
After Kuroda’s departure, Shawn Kelly, Matt Thornton, and Dellin Betances kept the score at 2-1. In the ninth, David Huff allowed a seemingly back-breaking run for a 3-1 O’s lead, with closer Zach Britton coming in for the 9th.
Frustration Then Elation
The Yankees failed to score with the bases loaded three times during the game, then threatened again in the bottom of eighth with two on after two outs, but couldn’t get the big hit. Alfonso Soriano, pinch hitting for Ichiro, hit a bloop single to center and Brian Roberts followed with a single to left. On a 3-2 count, Yangervis Solarte extended his hitless streak to 24 with a harmless fly out to left.
Then the magic happened. Whether the ghosts came out, or this is a sign that Yankees are on the cusp of a run, the Bomber’s 4-run bottom of the 9th was their first walk-off win of the season. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
In the decisive ninth, Brett Gardner slashed a single down the left-field line. Derek Jeter stuck out, and Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to center. Mark Teixeira followed with a walk. In a huge at-bat, Brian McCann stroked a single to center, plating Gardner, narrowing the score to 3-2 Baltimore. Then Beltran went ‘boom’, and the Yanks kept pace with Toronto and knocked Baltimore another game down in the standings.
GAMEDAY NOTES: Alex Rodriguez has dropped his lawsuit against Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad. ESPN-New York: Girardi Expects Him Back … MLB Trade Rumors reports that the recently sent-down John Ryan Murphy is a hot commodity on the trade market … There’s also rumblings about the versatile, power-hitting prospect Pete O’Brien being included in a deal for a starting pitcher — Jeff Samardzija, maybe? The 29-year-old Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs are reportedly about $40M apart in their contract extension negotiations. The Cubbie ace is asking for $100M, the club is offering $60M — reportedly. Here’s the skinny on the talks …
INJURY UPDATES: Kelly Johnson is day-to-day with bruised fingers…
MEMORY LANE: On June 20th, 1956, at Detroit’s Briggs Stadium, Mickey Mantle hammers two Billy Hoeft pitches into the right center field bleachers, something no other player had done since the bleachers were built in the late 1930s. New York wins 7-4 (Source: Today In Baseball History) … Also on June 20th in 2000, the Yankees traded Jim Leyritz to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jose Vizcaino and cash … In 1983, the club released fan favorite Bobby Murcer … In 2011, Ivan Nova pitched a gem against a strong Cincinnati Reds lineup, allowing 1 ER over 8 innings in a 5-3 New York win. Mariano Rivera recorded his 18th save of the season …