The Yankees tied a season high with 14 runs to bury the Angels in a sloppy, soggy game at the Stadium, 14-7.
CC Sabathia started off well...for the first two batters, anyway. In fact, he even had a chance to make it a one-two-three inning, getting Mike Trout to pop the ball down the right field line. Sadly, Joe Girardi decided tonight would be a good time to dust off Vernon Wells' outfield glove. Wells overran the ball, which dropped foul. CC went on to walk Trout and serve up a tasty, Hughes-ian meatball to Yankee-killer Mark Trumbo, who deposited the ball into the bleachers for a 2-0 lead.
Wells did his best to redeem himself in the bottom of the second, smacking a solo homer to to lead off the inning. It was Wells' first dinger since May 15. Michael Kay expressed genuine shock that Wells had gone nearly three months without hitting one out...apparently he hasn't been watching Wells hit this summer. Curtis Granderson followed with a single, and the Yankees were in business.
And then Jayson Nix happened. His supreme dedication to killing this rally should be the subject of the next Yankeeography. He grounded the ball to third, just beating out a double play. Thwarted in first attempt at rally-killing, Nix wasted no time in getting himself picked off first. Lyle Overbay hit what would have been a run-scoring double one batter later. YES didn't show us a clip, but my sources tell me Nix strutted back into the clubhouse with a machine gun, like Stallone in Rambo 2, shot up everything in sight, and growled, "Mission...accomplished."
The Angels extended their lead in the third, thanks to what might have been the worst defensive inning of the Yankees' season. Following a lead off walk to J.B. Shuck, the Angels decided to roll out a sacrifice bunt, and Nix decided that picking a bunted ball off the grass would be too bourgeois. The Nix error left runners on first and second with two outs. Sabathia bounced back with a strike out of Trout and a ground ball to first base off the bat of Trumbo...which turned into a bases loaded, one out situation after Eduardo Nunez forgot to step on the bag. CC then committed the unforgivable sin of walking in Yankee reject Chris Nelson to drive in a run. He got out of the inning with only one run allowed, which was a minor miracle.
Over the next two innings, CC would settle down and the Yankees would remember they were facing Jason Vargas and not Clayton Kershaw. Jayson Nix drove in a run in the third with a clutch, gritty ground out, and Alfonso Soriano put the Yankees on top with a two-run blast in the fourth.
Sabathia nearly gave up that lead in the sixth, walking the bases loaded. With one out, Tommy Field lined a ball to Soriano and Nelson scampered home to tie the game at...wait, what? The umpire called Nelson out for leaving before the catch was made (bad call, but I'll take it) and just like that, CC was out of danger. He only gave up three runs on four hits in 6-plus innings, but Sabathia wasn't particularly sharp with his control, walking six. Still, I think it's safe to say he has ascended to the lofty level of "starters who are better than Phil Hughes."
The Yankees broke the game open against the Angel bullpen with four runs in the sixth, capped by a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. They would break the game even open-er in the seventh with four more runs off Joe Blanton. Soriano hit his second dinger of the night - a three-run blast - to cap an amazing 3-for-5, six RBI performance. Curtis Granderson joined Soriano in tonight's three-hit club, and every single starter had at least one knock. Still, I get the feeling John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will give tonight's Game MVP to Nix.
With the team up big, the only question left for Yankee fans was whether or not Dellin Betances would make his season debut. And the fans would get their wish...eventually...kinda. Betances threw one pitch...followed by a 26-minute rain delay. He would come back to strike out Grant Green to end the eighth and Chris Iannetta to start the ninth. Dellin was hitting consistently in the high nineties and pumping strike after strike. And then suddenly it all fell apart. Nunez threw away a ground ball (his second error of the night) and Betances gave up five straight hits and walk, including a three-run bomb to Trout. Joba Chamberlain would come in to finish off the Angels. Tough break, Dellin, we'll see you in three weeks or so.
Mom Quote of the Night:
Following Romine's sixth-inning bunt.
"I hate bunting! Why do they always do that? Ooh...Romine looks like he has bird poop on his shoulder!"
Anyhoo....this game was weird. Satisfying, but weird. Tomorrow's game promises to be tighter, as Ivan Nova puts his newly-earned "ace" status on the line against Jered Weaver.