Water is wet, the sky is blue, and the Yankees love hitting in the first inning. Brett Gardner led things off with a lazy flyball the other way, which went for a single. Chase Headley hit a seeing-eye single, and A-Rod followed with hit number 2,998 to drive Gardner in. Marlins starter Mat Latos walked Brian McCann to load the bases, but the Yankees failed to do any more damage.
On the mound for the Yankees, CC Sabathia retired the first nine Marlins hitters he faced. Dee Gordon led off the top of the fourth with a screaming triple, showcasing his incredible speed to take third. Christian Yelich got him home on a grounder to second, tying the game at one.
In the top of the fifth, the Marlins took a 2-1 lead with a single from from DH Jeff Baker, a hit-by-pitch from Justin Bour, and some good situational hitting. Donovan Solano hit a flyball to right center that advanced Baker, and catcher Jeff Mathis drove him in on a sacrifice fly. The Marlins' ability to manufacture a run made the Yankees' first inning look pretty suspect.
While most of CC's starts over the past couple of years have looked like two outings combined into one, the lefty managed to avoid letting things get out of hand in the fifth. Dee Gordon singled Bour over to third after Mathis's sac fly, but Sabathia froze Adeiny Hechavarria on a nasty slider for a called third strike, avoiding any major damage.
Meanwhile for the Marlins, Mat Latos settled in very nicely after the first inning. After the hectic first, he looked a lot more like the guy who entered the game with a 3.08 FIP than the guy who entered the game with a 5.44 ERA. That all changed in the fifth, when A-Rod singled for his 2,999th hit and Mark Teixeira followed with a double down the line. Unfortunately for the Bombers, Latos threw three excellent 12-6 curveballs to strike Brian McCann out. Carlos Beltran followed with a popup to short, drawing some boos from the crowd as the Yankees failed once again to score with runners on base.
In the top of the sixth, Giancarlo Stanton killed any doubt as to which team's rightfielder is better. On the second pitch of the at bat, he lined a slider into the left field bleachers. The ball left the bat at 115 mph and was his 25th home run of the season.
Once again, the third time through the order proved to be Latos' Achilles heel. With two outs, Mason Williams hit his second double of the game. Brett Gardner followed with a two run homer into the Yankees' bullpen, tying the score at three. In the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Beltran made up for an ugly stretch of hitting with a two-run jack to left field, bringing Brian McCann in against Mike Dunn.
After getting hit number 2,999, A-Rod lined out in the bottom of the sixth. In the eighth, Miami reliever Sam Dyson walked him on four pitches, giving him absolutely nothing to hit. Fans chanted a PG-13 word at Dyson and booed him mercilessly throughout the rest of his outing. The Yankees added an insurance run when Brian McCann singled Chase Headley in. A wild pitch brought A-Rod in, and Chris Young doubled Brian McCann in to make it an 8-3 ballgame. After a pitching change, Stephen Drew hit a sac fly to bring the Yankees total to nine.
The insurance runs in the eighth were big, as the Yankees did not want to use Dellin Betances for a second consecutive day. RHP Chris Martin came in for the ninth and wrapped things up. In the end, A-Rod being stuck at 2,999 isn't too bad. Tomorrow, he faces Tigers ace Justin Verlander. We can all agree that getting number 3,000 against a pitcher of his caliber is much more exciting.
Here's the box score from tonight's game.