On a rainy Memorial Day in St. Louis, the Yankees and Cardinals met in a regular season game for the first time since 2005. The Yanks squandered an early 3-1 lead as St. Louis tied it in the 7th, but outstanding pitching and defense held it until a three-run outburst in the 12th secured the victory.
Pitching: Whitley Goes 5, Bullpen (Almost) Perfect
After a shaky first, Chase Whitley acquitted himself well, pitching into the sixth inning, where he got into a bases-loaded, no outs jam. He left with a 3-1 lead, and Preston Claiborne did his best to limit the damage. A soft grounder to short and a sac fly allowed St. Louis to knot the game at 3. Matt Thornton came in to get both of the left-handed batters he faced, and Dellin Betances contributed a perfect 8th and 9th. Alfredo Aceves allowed one hit over the 10th and 11th, and closer David Robertson gave up an unearned run in the 12th, but nailed down the save.
Defense: Gardner, Ryan Shine
A couple of big defensive plays figured strongly in the outcome. In the bottom of the 10th, Brett Gardner made a leaping catch at the wall in left-center on what appeared to be a certain Yadier Molina walk-off home run. Brendan Ryan, installed at first base, made a great stab on a Kolton Wong grounder, getting Wong at first, then firing to Derek Jeter covering second base for the tag on Jon Jay.
Clutch Hitting: Roberts, Soriano and Ryan
Brian Roberts had a big day. In the decisive 12th inning, the Cardinals decided to walk Ichiro, loading the bases, to pitch to Roberts. He made them pay, singling to left through a drawn in infield scoring Jacoby Ellsbury. After an Alfonso Soriano sac fly that plated Brian McCann, Brendan Ryan sliced a single to left scoring Ichiro for a 6-3 Yankees lead.
Here’s the box score and recap by mlb.com’s Alex Halsted.
GAMEDAY NOTES: As noted by Kenny Singleton on today’s YES Broadcast, Chase Whitley made his third major league start and is yet to face an American League team. He did well overall and his pitch count was at 91 when Joe Girardi brought in Claiborne in the 6th. Whitley kept the Yanks in the game, and proved worthy of continued starts … Progress was reported on Carlos Beltran‘s injured elbow, as the slugger began taking swings without a setback. No return date has been announced … A MUST SEE VIDEO: Derek Jeter gives a ball to a young Yankee fan …
TOMORROW’S GAME: David Phelps (1-1) takes the mound against Cardinal’s right-hander Lance Lynn (5-2).
MEMORY LANE: On May 26, 1959 the Kansas City Athletics traded Hector Lopez and Ralph Terry to the New York Yankees for Johnny Kucks, Jerry Lumpe and Tom Sturdivant. (Source: Baseball Reference). In that era, the Yankees plucked great players away from K.C. like it was their farm system. Among the names were Clete Boyer, Bobby Shantz, Ralph Terry, Art Ditmar, Enos Slaughter, Ryne Duren and Roger Maris.