Earlier today, I wrote a post about the curious start to Mark Teixeira's 2015 season. I discussed the fact that Tex hasn't been getting many hits this season, but he's made them count because he had four doubles and five home runs on ten overall hits. I also discussed how he can't possibly keep up the ridiculous power numbers he's been putting up so far this season. He must have read that and gotten mad, because he sure showed me. The slugging first baseman mashed two more taters on Friday night, which, along with some phenomenal pitching by Michael Pineda, helped the Yankees beat the Mets 6-1. They ended the Mets' 11-game winning streak, and have now won seven out of their last eight. On fire! Here's how it all went down.
After a quick 123 inning by Pineda in the top of the first–something that would be a theme in the early going of this game–Tex hit a Jacob deGrom fastball for a booming home run to the second deck in right field, scoring Brett Gardner, who had singled two batters earlier. The "message" gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead, and quieted some of those pesky Mets fans chanting in the crowd.
After Pineda kept on dealing in the tops of the second and third innings, the Yankees decided to put the game away in the bottom of the third. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a solo jack of his own. It was his first homer run of the year and, although it was a bit of a Yankees Stadium cheapy, they all count in the boxscore. Gardner followed up with a single, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. I like the aggressiveness, but at the time, that probably wasn't the best thing to do so early in the game. Luckily it didn't matter too much, because Alex Rodriguez followed with a walk, and Tex filled up the inbox again, sending a very similar Tex message into the second deck in right, just down the line again. It was Tex's seventh home run of the season, and his 16th and 17th RBI, on 12 total hits so far in 2015. Like I said, he must have read my post today. The inning wasn't over, as the Yankees then loaded the bases on a single by Brian McCann, a walk by Carlos Beltran and a single by Chase Headley, and Stephen Drew drove in the sixth run on a sacrifice fly. Four runs on five hits and two walks. That's how you break a game open early.
deGrom would settle down after that, retiring the Yankees in order in the fourth and fifth innings, but the damage was already done. The Yankees, once again, jumped all over a very tough pitcher early, and their aggressive approach at the plate yielded great results. deGrom, who won the rookie of the year last year and was off to a fantastic start so far in 2015, didn't know what hit him.
The offense didn't really do much of anything the rest of the way in this one. They loaded the bases on an error sandwiched by two singles in the bottom of the seventh, but a Teixeira popup (can't hit them all over the fence, I guess) and strike outs by McCann and Beltran ended the threat without a run. The only hit over the next two frames was a double by DiDi Gregorius in the ninth, but nothing came of that one either. By the way, the three home runs the bombers hit tonight gave them 24 on the young season, which is good enough for tops in the majors.
I know I'm gushing a lot about the offense and kind of glossing over the pitching performances in this game, so we really need to talk about Michael Pineda. Big Mike was absolutely dealing in this game. He had all of his pitches working early and used them to ferociously attack the zone all night long. He finished with just one run allowed (on a sac fly following a passed ball) on five hits in 7.2 innings with no walks and seven strike outs. He was so good early on, that at one point had 61 pitches and only 10 balls. He finished with an even 100 pitches and a ridiculous 78 strikes, and threw first pitch strikes to 23 of the 28 batters he faced. Wowsers. Pineda had been struggling somewhat coming into this game, with an ERA over five, so it was great to see him mow down the Mets in this one. After Pineda allowed a two-out double to Curtis Granderson in the eighth, Chasen Shreve came in, ended the threat with a big K of Juan Lagares. The latest bullpen darling then pitched an easy ninth to end it. Good pitching, combined with good hitting... We'll take it every time.
This game got me pretty excited about the early season. With the way Pineda threw the ball tonight, the way Masahiro Tanaka has been throwing, and encouraging performances by Nathan Eovaldi and even CC Sabathia of late, the Yankees rotation is starting to round into shape, and looking pretty good. The offense, as I mentioned, has been flexing its muscles lately too. Let's hope they can all keep it going tomorrow afternoon!
Here's a link to the full boxscore and highlights from Yankees.com. Enjoy!