Sloppy. That's the word that seems to stick out the most as I think about this game. The defense was sloppy. Adam Warren didn't look good. There was a couple of baserunning mistakes. But despite those shortcomings, the offense, thanks mostly to Kevin Youkilis, and Ronnier Mustelier at the end, overcame the mistakes to beat the Rays 7-6.
Adam Warren started for the Yankees and things immediately started poorly. Desmond Jennings lined the first pitch of the game to the gap for a double. Later in the inning, with two outs and Jennings now on third, Matt Joyce blooped one to right field which scored Jennings making it 1-0 Rays.
The offense answered back in the bottom half of the first inning. Brett Gardner singled off Jeremy Hellickson to lead off the inning. Next batters Eduardo Nunez and Ichiro Suzuki hit ground balls that could have both been double plays, but their speed allowed both of those grounders to just lead to one out. That kept the inning alive for Kevin Youkilis, who smashed a home run over the right field wall to make it 2-1. The Yankees added another run in the third inning. Jayson Nix lead off the inning with a walk. Gardner grounded into a fielder's choice, getting Nix out at second. But Gardner would go to third on a wild pitch by Hellickson. A Eduardo Nunez triple scored Gardner easily to extend the lead to 3-1.
From there it started to go downhill on the pitching side of things. Despite some trouble in the third, Warren made it to the fourth inning unscathed after the bad start to his outing. He did not make it out of the fourth though. Shelley Duncan and Yunel Escobar lead off the inning with singles, with Duncan moving to third on Escobar's. But after Francisco Cervelli threw out Escobar stealing second, and Ryan Roberts flied out, it looked like Warren might end up escaping again. Next up was another former Yankee Jose Molina, who grounded to third, but a field error by Youkilis allowed Duncan to score and Molina to be safe at first. Warren then walked Sean Rodriguez. Next up was Desmond Jennings who smashed another double off Warren that scored both Molina and Rodriguez. So instead of being out of the inning, it was a tie game and Warren was taken out of the game.
Vidal Nuno was brought in, and he didn't have much success at first either. Nuno walked Kelly Johnson. He got Zobrist to ground to Youkilis at third, but another mistake by Youk allowed Jennings to score, giving the Rays the lead. But Cervelli then did his part again, throwing out Zobrist at second to end the inning.
After that inning, the pitching started to do well, but by then the offense had quieted, but that wouldn't last Travis Hafner homered in the sixth inning to cut the Rays' lead to one. And two innings later, the Yankees retook the lead. Nunez lead off the eighth inning with a walk. He stole second, and moved to third on a ground out by Ichiro. And then Youkilis smashed another home run over the left field wall and the Yankees were back in front, 6-5.
But their lead would not last. David Aardsma was brought into pitch the ninth inning. Zobrist lead off the inning with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Kevin Kiermaier. Jason Bourgeois bunted the runner over to third, and two batters later Jake Hager doubled to score the run to tie the game. The Yankees couldn't win the game in bottom of the ninth and the game went to the 10th.
After a 1-2-3 top of the inning in the tenth, Ronnier Mustelier lead off for the Yankees. Shy Ronnier just managed to get one over the fence for a walk off home to end the game, as the Yankees won 7-6. It's looking increasingly like Mustelier won't be making the opening day roster, but he's certainly trying to stake a claim.
Other than Warren, Nuno and Aardsma the pitching looked decent for the Yankees. Cody Eppley pitched in an inning, allowing a walk and a hit. After that was another appearance by Mariano Rivera. Rivera retired the first two Rays before allowing singles to Johnson and Zobrist, but Rivera got Matt Joyce to ground out to end the inning, and generally looked fine. Joba Chamberlain looked really good in his 1-2-3 seventh inning. Boone Logan walked one in his inning of work, and Josh Spence and Preston Claibourne combined to pitch a 1-2-3 tenth inning.
On the offensive end, Kevin Youkilis was obviously the standout performer, but Eduardo Nunez had a good day too, Nunez went 2-3 with a walk, driving in a run and scoring one himself. Gardner and Ichiro were both 1-4 with a run scored. Travis Hafner was 1-3 with the already-mentioned home run. Juan Rivera was 1-4, Ben Francisco 0-3 with a walk, Francisco Cervelli 1-3, and Jayson Nix 1-2 with a walk.
After an off-day tomorrow, the Yankees are back in action Tuesday at 7:05 eastern against the Astros, as we get closer and closer to regular season baseball.
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