Traditional doubleheaders, with quick turnaround times, usually lead to unusual lineups. That also includes positioning players outside of their normal defensive assignments. The Cleveland Indians suffered the repercussions of the later in the first inning. Two plays occurred with players out of their traditional positions and the results eventually led to a run for the Yankees. After Jason Nix singled, Robinson Cano hit a hot shot to first that Carlos Santana could not field cleanly. Trevor Bauer scrambled to cover the bag, but Santana’s toss was high and wide of the pitcher, causing Bauer to leave his foot over the front of the bag. Cano stepped squarely on Bauer’s right foot, and Nix was able to advance to third in the process with one out. Vernon Wells then grounded to short, into what looked like a tailor-made double play, but Mike Aviles, playing the keystone today, threw the relay way wide of first, allowing Nix to score. While only one error was recorded in the frame, the defense clearly let Bauer down in the first inning. After getting shutout in the first game the Yankees weren’t going to quibble with how they got on the board.
Vidal Nuno, in his first major league start, rolled through his first frame in 1-2-3 style. He must have felt good trotting off the mound after striking out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the side. Those good feelings continued for Nuno, as he retired the first eight hitters he saw. Cleveland entered the day leading the American League with a team .800 OPS. This was no easy assignment for a rookie’s first career start. He completed five shutout innings with three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.
Trevor Bauer also had a very good start today controlling his bug-a-boo by issuing only two walks. Corban Joseph, however, led off the seventh inning with a double. That was Joseph’s first major league hit of his career, in his second game of the day. Austin Romine followed with his first hit of the year, plating Joseph and giving the Yankees a two run lead. That chased Bauer from the game, ending his line at 6.1 innings, six hits, two walks, four strikeouts, and eventually two earned runs given up. Nix blooped a ball over the first baseman’s head into shallow right field off of reliever Nick Hagadone to score Romine, extend the lead to three and completed Bauer’s line.
Vernon Wells kept the seventh rolling for the Yankee offense with a base knock to left. That hit scored Brett Gardner making the lead four runs. Lyle Overbay joined the party by hitting a two-out double that scored both Nix and Wells. Hagadone was pulled having retired just one Yankee batter on a Robinson Cano strikeout. The Yankees added one more run on a throwing error that Santana could have/should have been able to pick and the top of the seventh ended with the Yanks up by seven.
Adam Warren relieved Nuno and pitched equally as well. He finished off the game in four innings of work giving up only two hits, with no walks and three strikeouts. He also continued the streak of ‘firsts’ on the day, as he earned the rare four-inning save for the first of his career. The stellar pitching performance from Nuno and Warren, gave the Yankees a split of the doubleheader.
The Indians were one of the hottest teams in the league coming into this makeup doubleheader, so the Yankees have to be pleased with their young pitchers’ performances in holding that offense to only one run on the day. Tonight the team flies home to start a homestand with the Seattle Mariners. The first game pitching matchup is a doozy, with CC Sabathia facing Felix Hernandez.
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