GAME 60: When Joe Girardi patted Chase Whitley on the back signaling the standout rookie hurler’s night was over, pure joy spread through the Yankees dugout. Fist pumps, high-fives, and big grins punctuated Whitley’s best start to date, resulting in his first major league win, a 4-2 victory over the host Kansas City Royals.
Whitley had everything working from the beginning, and cruised past the fifth inning for the first time in 5 starts. Over 7 innings, he allowed just 2 earned runs, striking out 3 and walking none. The Ranburne, Alabama native compiled this line score on a tidy 87-pitch effort.
Whitley Makes 4-Run Lead Hold Up
As it’s been the pattern of late, the Yankees put up a crooked number early in the game, then failed to tack on. More often than not, they have ended up on the short end of the final score. Not tonight. Outstanding pitching performances made a mere 1 run in the second and 3 runs in the third hold up for once.
While Whitley was masterful over 7, Dellin Betances was electric in a 1-2-3 eight. After two quick strikeouts in the 9th, David Robertson made it interesting. A double to left and 4-pitch walk put the tying runs on base, but a sharp grounder to third-baseman Yangervis Solarte, who fired to Brian Roberts at second for the force, closed the books.
In what would be the game’s decisive inning, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury opened the top of the third with singles. After a Carlos Beltran ground out to second, Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Next up was Brian McCann. On a 3-2 count, the catcher sliced a fastball on the outer half of the plate to the corner in left for a double, plating all three base runners, and advancing to third base on the throw home. That was it for the offense, but it was enough to move the Yanks 2 games over .500 at 31-29, and tread water for another day in the unpredictable AL East.
“I don’t think I threw a strike in the bullpen before the game…”
— Chase Whitley
Here’s the box score and mlb.com recap by Robert Falkoff.
MEMORY LANE: On June 6th, 1957, the Yankees hammered the Cleveland Indians, 14-5, behind a 20-hit attack lead by Moose Skowron, Bobby Richardson and Mickey Mantle. First-baseman Skowron went 4-6 with 5 RBI, second-baseman Richardson 3-6, and The Mick was 2-3 with 4 RBI. The (original) Moose and The Mick each homered in the rout. Pitcher Johnny Kucks went the full 9 innings, both striking out and walking 7. The attendance at Cleveland Memorial Stadium that day was 7,461. (Source: Baseball Almanac)
On a side note, Mickey Mantle’s salary in 1957 was $60,000. Moose Skowron hauled in $18,500 before taxes. In 2014 dollars, Mantle’s compensation would be roughly $506,000. Skowron’s would be just over $156,000. What happened between now and then is beyond the scope of this game-day post. ;-p