The Yankees looked to rebound from a losing effort on Monday against Miguel Gonzalez and the Orioles from Baltimore. Fortunately, the Yankees had "Ace of the Moment" Ivan Nova to face them. But it would be the offense that carried the day.
The first two innings saw both pitchers deal with the opposing lineups quite easily, as the Yankees batters did not seem to get the memo that Gonzalez was not a strikeout specialist. But the Yankees got the scoring started in the top of the third. The rally was sparked first by a single from returning hero Chris Stewart, who scored on an Alex Rodriguez double. Gonzalez would blank the Yanks for the next two innings.
Nova was able to keep the lead until the bottom of the fifth, when two meek grounders by JJ Hardy and Brian Roberts found the outfield to lead off the inning. Then a soft grounder to the normally sure-handed Eduardo Nunez was thrown past Mark Reynolds to tie the game, and Roberts scored on a sacrifice fly after having advanced on the error. Apparently frustrated by the lack of solid hits that had led to to the first two runs, Nova threw a beach ball to Chris Davis that landed 400 feet away in the centerfield seats to make the score 4-1 Orioles.
The Yankees were kind enough to respond to the Orioles three-spot in the fifth with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth. Alfonso Soriano hit a seed over the left field wall to make it 4-2, and Mark Reynolds smashed one so far that I believe it bounced off a satellite, cutting the deficit to one. Nova would only last through the bottom of a scoreless sixth, when he was pulled after 76 pitches.
Not satisfied with a run total of three, the Yankees battered top O's prospect Kevin Gausman around in the seventh. An Alex Rodriguez double was followed by a Robinson Cano single that juuuuust got A-Rod home ahead of the throw (a mad dash strenuous enough that Alex left the game), and Soriano opted to change things up and hit a home run to the other side of Camden Yards, giving the Yankees a 6-4 lead. But the Yankees run-lust had not been satiated. Curtis Granderson and Reynolds hit consecutive doubles to make the score 7-4.
After Adam Warren's perfect seventh, Shawn Kelley entered in the bottom of the eighth as the de facto David Robertson and allowed a run thanks to a walk to Davis and a series of wild pitches that were mostly due J.R. Murphy's crummy blocking, having come in for the injured Austin Romine. A sacrifice fly from Matt Wieters brought the run in to score. Having seen enough, Joe Girardi opted to bring in the venerable Mariano Rivera for another attempt at an inning-plus save. But this time, it would work wondrously, as Rivera made short work of the four batters to earn his 42(!)nd save.
Every win is an important one at this point, especially against teams that are battling the Yankees for the final Wild Card spot. So pat yourselves on the shoulders, guys. You did good tonight. And blessed be the Cashman for acquiring Alfonso Soriano in one of the greatest Yankees deadline deals ever. His 15 home runs in 43 games have been pretty helpful to the cause.
Credit to long time listener for posting this in the Game Thread:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Alfonso Soriano: 37th career multi-homer game, the same number as Ted Williams, Mike Piazza, and Stan Musial</p>— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/statuses/377603855766126592">September 11, 2013</a></blockquote>
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That's some impressive stuff, Sori.