The New York Yankees are back to their winning ways, snapping a three-game losing streak after two painful losses to Boston and one to Los Angeles. With the win, the Yankees improved to 70-45 on the season while the Angels fell to 64-53. Oh yeah, this is also the first time the Yankees have beaten a pitcher making his major league debut against them since May 1, 2004. Eduardo Villacis was the pitcher.
Curtis Granderson was the straw that stirred the drink tonight, belting his 30th and 31st home runs of the season. For the record, the most home runs Granderson has ever hit in a season was 30 back in 2009 with the Detroit Tigers. Granderson’s first home run, a three-run shot, lined into the Yankee bullpen in the first inning to nicely welcome Garrett Richards to MLB. His second home run was a solo shot to deep right field in the fifth inning.
As for the rest of the Yankee offense, Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez would add an RBI single and double, respectively, in the fourth inning to extend a three run lead to five runs. Russell Martin flexed his All-Star caliber muscles (sarcasm) by driving home Swisher in the sixth on a single. Robinson Cano would put the game out of reach in the seventh when he drilled an opposite field two-run homer.
On to the pitching...
Ivan Nova pitched respectably tonight. His fastball wasn’t very consistent and he had some trouble finding the strike zone at times, but still managed to allow only three runs to score over the course of six innings. His first six innings were solid, benefiting from Chien-Ming Wang syndrome and forcing 14 groundouts. The only mistake he made was a cutter up in the zone that Peter Bourjos demolished to put the Angels on the board. In the seventh, Nova ran out of gas. A leadoff walk to Torii Hunter followed by a Matt Trumbo single set up an RBI single by Vernon Wells to make the game 7-2. Alberto Callaspo walked to load the bases, and Nova’s night was done.
Rafael Soriano came in to force Bourjos into a double play and, despite a run scoring, got Jeff Mathis to fly out to end the inning.
Cano’s home run eased all doubts about the outcome. By the way, here are Cano's stats since winning the Home Run Derby: 33 for 107 (.308), .359 OBP, eight doubles, one triple, four home runs, and 20 RBI.
Luis Ayala would pitch two innings of solid relief, allowing three hits while striking out three.
Notably, Cano was 3-4 with a double, triple and home run. Nova picked up his eleventh win of the season and worked his way through 6+ innings to give the Yankees a "quality start" even though he didn’t have his best stuff. In fact, Nova failed to strikeout even one batter. His final line: six innings, five hits, three walks, three earned runs, zero strikeouts.
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