Oh man, this game. It was pretty tremendous for the Yankees, as basically everything went right and they walloped the Rays, 10-2. There was good pitching, a bunch of dingers, and even a bit of baseball history.
The Yankees wasted no time in teeing off against one of the best pitchers in baseball, David Price. Leading off, Jacoby Ellsbury beat out a high-bouncing grounder into no-man's land near first base, and Derek Jeter followed with a walk. Two outs later, it seemed like the inning might end in disappointment, but Brian McCann saved it with an opposite-field RBI single through the shift. We can only hope that Mark Teixeira was taking notes from the disabled list.
CC Sabathia quickly forced Price back to the mound with an 11-pitch first inning, and in the second, the Yankees really laid into the 2012 Cy Young Award winner. The bottom of the order deserves credit for starting the rally, as Scott Sizemore (playing first base for the first time in his professional career) laced a double past Evan Longoria and down the left field line. Brian Roberts, who had been out with back problems for a few days, surprised us all by crushing an 0-2 pitch into deep left-center field for an RBI triple. Ellsbury immediately responded with a triple of his own to right-center, scoring Roberts. Jeter then singled up the middle to run the score up to 4-0. It briefly looked like Sabathia might give some runs back when Longoria led off the second with a double and Wil Myers walked, but he was bailed out by a ground ball to the exact right location:
Sean Rodriguez bounced one directly to Yangervis Solarte at third base, who managed to turn three on Rodriguez. The Yankees have turned just three triple plays since 1968; they have all taken place within the past four years and all featured Sabathia on the mound. What luck!
There was a bit of a scare in the third inning when Carlos Beltran ran into a close wall in right field foul territory chasing a foul ball, but he fortunately seemed to be fine. As Tanya noted, if it was 2013, he probably would have disintegrated. Instead, he stayed in the game. The Rays finally got on the board against Sabathia in the fourth when they scored a run on a passed ball, though a convenient ricochet almost led to them staying scoreless. Having none of this, the Yankees' offense responded against Price during the next half-inning with back-to-back homers from Alfonso Soriano and McCann. Sori made his blast extra fun with this plus-plus bat drop:
The rest of the game was smooth sailing, as Sabathia went seven strong, allowing just two runs (one earned) on seven hits and two walks, striking out six Rays along the way. It was an encouraging performance for the veteran lefty; perhaps there is some craftiness in his repertoire after all! Dellin Betances finished up with two scoreless innings, walking a pair of batters and striking out three. (A sketchy strike zone by home plate umpire Rob Drake was not especially kind to him on the walks, either.)
Everyone in the Yankees' starting lineup got a hit except for Beltran and Ichiro Suzuki. Ellsbury, Jeter, Solarte, Roberts, McCann, and Soriano all notched multi-hit games. Roberts fell a homer shy of the cycle, and Solarte missed it by a triple, too. In the ninth inning, "Never Nervous Yangervis" added his first major-league homer, a two-run bomb off Rays closer Grant Balfour. This happened just minutes after Eduardo Nunez badly struggled to get a bunt down in Minnesota. I think the Yankees might have made the right decision in picking Solarte over Nunez. Maybe.
Hiroki Kuroda will try to give the Yankees a 2-0 series lead tomorrow night against veteran lefty Erik Bedard, who is apparently still pitching. Good for him, I guess. Hopefully that turns out as well as Price's pitching did tonight.