Michael Pineda is an incredibly frustrating pitcher. He has the stuff, as evidenced by his generally pretty good strike out numbers. He just normally can’t do that with any sort of consistency, and allows far too many home runs. On days where he’s good, he’s really good. Those days just didn’t happen very often. In the home opener on Monday, it was one of those days.
Pineda retired the first 20 batters he faced against the Rays, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning. It was eventually broken up when Evan Longoria doubled with two outs in the eighth. He then briefly threatened to turn back into frustrating Pineda when he allowed a home run in the eighth. However, those would be the only two hits he and the bullpen allowed. A late offensive burst got the Yankees some insurance runs and allowed them to win the home opener 8-1.
After a quiet first two innings, the Yankees opened the scoring in the third. With one out, Brett Gardner struck out, but reached first after the third strike got away from Derek Norris. That would be extremely costly for the Rays, as Gardner would come all the way around to score on a Jacoby Ellsbury double. In the fourth, the Yankees added another run when Aaron Judge hit a home run, his second in two days.
The Yankees bats went quiet for a while after that, and the shift focused to Pineda as he continued to pile up outs. Then in the seventh, Longoria got the hit, ending the fun. Normally when something like that happens to Pineda, things might go off the rails. However, he got the next out, and kept the lead in tact.
Despite taking a perfect game into the seventh, the Yankees still only had a two-run lead. In the bottom of the seventh, they got some breathing room when Chase Headley led off with a home run.
In the top of the eighth, the shutout disappeared when Logan Morrison hit a solo home run. After Pineda got the second out of the eighth, he was taken out of the game to a nice ovation. It was well deserved after one of his best performance in pinstripes. Pineda went 7.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits and no walks. He struck out 11. Tyler Clippard came in and got the final out of the eighth.
The Yankees got several insurance runs in the bottom half of the eighth. Gardner again reached thanks to a mistake in the field, this one belonging to second baseman Brad Miller. Once again, that would cost the Rays. Gardner stole second and third, before scoring on a Matt Holliday double.
Noted speedster Chris Carter then added a triple to score Holliday. For fun, Starlin Castro barely got one over the wall in right-center for a home run. After that, the Rays had a bit of a meltdown. Headley singled. Judge reached on what was ruled a single after Morrison messed up in the field. Austin Romine reached on a error after Rays’ reliever Austin Pruitt couldn’t field a potential double play ball. Ronald Torreyes then beat out a double play, scoring another run. When the inning was finally over, the Yankees were up 8-1.
Chasen Shreve pitched a pefect ninth inning, sealing an 8-1 home opening win for the Yankees.
If that Michael Pineda can show up more, that would be nice.