Jacoby Ellsbury continued to break out of his May-long slump with three hits as he and the offense jumped out to a big lead they wouldn't relinquish in a 7-4 win over the Cardinals to take the series in St. Louis. The Yankees got the scoring going in the third inning when Brett Gardner and Brian Roberts reached base on a walk and a single, respectively, before Ellsbury drove in Gardner with a single. Ellsbury took second on his first of two steals in the game and Brian McCann walked before a John Ryan Murphy single plated Roberts and Ellsbury. The final run of the inning came via a fielder's choice by Ichiro Suzuki to make it 4-0 Yankees.
Scoring would continue in the next inning when Ellsbury drove in Kelly Johnson and Roberts with his second hit of the game. The Yankee center fielder stole second again and came around to score on an RBI single by McCann to make the score 7-0. That would be all the scoring the Yankees did in the game, and thankfully, that was enough. Unfortunately, the pitching let the Cardinals' hitters slowly chip away at the lead. Hiroki Kuroda lasted only 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits, before departing in favor of Matt Thornton. Kuroda allowed St. Louis to score in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings after holding them scoreless for the first three. Thornton failed to get out the only batter he saw and Dellin Betances was needed to clean up the mess and get out of the inning. Dellin's workload as of late led to him only facing the one batter for the night.
Adam Warren pitched 1.2 innings before David Robertson was called upon for what seems like his 25th four-out save this season. Robertson allowed one of Warren's runners to score to notch the final Cardinals run. He had not allowed any inherited runners to score to this point in 2014. Two runners reached against Robertson in the ninth inning before he struck out Jon Jay, Matt Adams, and Daniel Descalso consecutively to end it.
The Yankees missed a prime opportunity to extend their lead in the seventh inning when Brendan Ryan and Kelly Johnson singled to lead off the inning before Zoilo Almonte reached on an error by the pitcher. With the bases loaded and no outs, Gardner struck out and Roberts grounded into a double play to kill the rally and end the threat. It would have been a heartbreaking turn of events if the offense hadn't gotten out to such a big lead early on.
Two of the bigger offseason acquisitions, Ellsbury and McCann, did a pretty good job of working out of their respective slumps with each reaching base three times in the game. Ellsbury is now seven for his last 17, which is hopefully a sign of better things to come for him. His May has been just miserable at the plate. Defensive specialist Brendan Ryan continued to work backwards with an error at shortstop and two hits on the night. John Ryan Murphy continued to Wally Pipp Francisco Cervelli with a single and two RBI. Then again, the Yankees could see his success as merely increasing his trade value for later this season.
After tonight's win the Yankees have tomorrow off before starting a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on Friday. Old friends Phil Hughes and Eduardo Nunez will be back in town for the first time this season with Hughes starting the game on Sunday. Here's to him remembering how much he loved meatballs when he was in pinstripes.