Missed opportunities aplenty in tonight's game between the Yankees and the Royals. New York couldn't finish off the three-game sweep of Kansas City and fell by the score of 5-4. With the loss, the Yankees fall to 74-47 while the Royals improve to 51-73.
The game began with promise when Derek Jeter roped a single to left off Bruce Chen. After Jeter was picked off and caught in a rundown, Curtis Granderson launched his 34th home run of the season into right-center field to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Robinson Cano would single, followed by walks to Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones to load the bases with two outs for Russell Martin. Martin would briskly fly out to right field to end the frame.
In the top half of the third inning, Granderson would double and eventually be knocked home by Swisher on a hot shot up the middle to extend the lead to 2-0.
Bartolo Colon ran into trouble in the bottom of the third very quickly. Mike Moustakas doubled and Alcides Escobar singled to set the table for Alex Gordon's three-run bomb to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. After a Melky Cabrera fly out, something peculiar happened. Billy Butler hit a deep fly to left center that traveled over the outfield wall, yet hit a small fence behind that and bounced back into play. The play was reviewed and, after much debate, ruled a home run to give the Royals a 4-2 lead. Let's be honest, it wasn't a home run and the umpiring crew blew it. But, the show goes on.
In the fifth, Cabrera led off with a triple and eventually scored on an Eric Hosmer groundout to put Kansas City up by three runs.
Russell All-Star Martin hit a solo shot in the sixth, his 13th of the season, to slice the lead to 5-3.
A glorious opportunity presented itself in the top of the seventh, as Jeter and Granderson reached base on a single and walk to open the inning. Mark Teixeira, Cano and Swisher would all strikeout to strand both runners on base.
Once again in the ninth inning, the Yankees made it very difficult to put this recap up quickly. Jeter and Granderson would single after a Brett Gardner fly out to put men on base for Teixeira. He would work a four pitch walk to load the bases. Cano worked the count foul and eventually hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Jeter and bringing the Yankees within one run. A wild pitch advanced the runners and Swisher walked on four pitches to load the bases for the birthday boy, Jorge Posada. Joakim Soria would pull himself together (sort of), striking out Posada on four pitches and the Royals would hang on to avoid a sweep. Soria threw 40 pitches in the ninth inning, 21 strikes and 19 balls.
Just for good measure, here's the strikezone for the Posada at-bat.
And here's the strike zone for the night.
Colon didn't have his best stuff, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four in five complete innings of work.
Hector Noesi did a heck of a job, pitching three innings of shutout relief and allowing two baserunners (one via hit, one via walk).
Some interesting notes:
- The Yankees had one hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
- Jeter and Granderson combined for seven hits and one walk, exactly half of the 16 base runners New York had tonight.
- Despite a home run, Russell Martin should still be splitting time with Jesus Montero. So call him up.
Comment of the game: Captain_Mick with his perfect reaction to the strike zone.
New York, who still leads the American League East by one game in the loss column, heads to Minnesota for an 8:05 matchup with the Twins tomorrow night.
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