GAME 54: Afternoon starts agree with Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched brilliantly for eight innings — long enough for the Yankees bats to come alive and secure his 8th victory in a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. Tanaka allowed an unearned run in the first, helped in part by a Kelly Johnson error to begin the game.
New York’s hitting woes of late continued into today’s game, as they had the bags loaded with no outs in the bottom of the first. Mark Teixeira struck out, then Brian McCann grounded into an inning-ending double-play. McCann would make up for it later.
In the meanwhile Yangervis Solarte clubbed a home run to right-center field in the bottom of the 4th inning, knotting the game at 1. After issuing a walk to open the 6th which was erased by a double play, Tanaka retired the last 8 batters he faced. He finished with 8 complete, 0 ERs, 4 hits, 2 BB, lowering his ERA to an American League-leading 2.06.
Ellsbury Starts It, McCann Finishes It
With a 1-1 tie, Jacoby Ellsbury got it started in the bottom of the 8th with a single to center, then swiped second. Brian Roberts followed with a walk. In what would turn out to be the game-winning hit, Brian McCann sliced a drive just inches over a leaping Joe Mauer at first, resulting in a double, scoring Ellsbury and moving Roberts to third. 2-1 Yanks. Kelly Johnson followed with a infield single that plated Roberts for the 3-1 final score.
Here’s the box score and recap.
GAMEDAY NOTES: Mark Teixiera left the game in the 6th inning as his surgically repaired wrist was barking …
MEMORY LANE: On May 31, 1989 the Dallas Green-managed Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 9-5. New York’s lineup included Don Mattingly, Jesse Barfield, Steve Sax, Deion Sanders, and Mel Hall. Andy Hawkins (5-6) got the win. The ’89 club would go on to a 5th place finish in the 7-team AL East, 16 games out with a 74-97 record. There was no ‘Central Division’ at the time, and the Yanks finished ahead of the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers. Dallas Green reportedly had run-ins with owner George Steinbrenner, and The Boss fired him on August 19th of that year, replacing him with Yankee-hero Bucky Dent for the last 40 games of the season.