For all those talking about how bad Derek Jeter has been in his last season and throughout his farewell tour, me included, he proved that he still has something left in the tank tonight. Jeter had three hits, a walk, and nearly had a fourth hit before the night was over. This game proved to be a banner night for the team, also seeing great games from Chase Whitley on the mound and (most) of the outfield in the field.
The Yankees got things started pretty quickly in the first inning when Derek Jeter singled and Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run home run to take the lead off Roenis Elias. The Mariners responded in the bottom of the second when Chase Whitley gave up the first home run of his career (it was going to happen eventually) to Logan Morrison to make it a 2–1 game. New York wasn't happy with Seattle inching closer, so they decided to make it a 4–2 game when Jeter singled, Ellsbury walked, and Alfonso Soriano came to life and hit a double to left-center field.
Chase Whitley pitched out of a big spot in the third inning. After giving up a single to Brad Miller, John Ryan Murphy tried to pick him off, but ended up throwing the ball into left field. Instead of fielding the ball and throwing it in, Soriano allowed the ball to bounce off the side wall and go through his legs before eventually picking it up and then throwing it in. By that point Miller already made it to third base. Whitley then hit Robinson Cano with a pitch, and just when it looked like the Mariners were going to break through, he shut them back down with a strikeout of Kyle Seager to end the inning.
The Yankees knocked Elias out of the game in the fourth inning after only 3.1 innings pitched. Brian Roberts walked then John Ryan Murphy singled. Brett Gardner bunted the runners over and that was it for the Mariners righty. Dominic Leone came in from the bullpen and promptly gave up a single to the red-hot Derek Jeter for a 6–1 lead.
Whitley was given another challenge by the Mariners in the fifth. Brad Miller hit a booming double to left field and scored on a James Jones single. Robinson Cano then hit a long fly ball to center field that was looking to be destined for the seats, but Ellsbury was able to jump and catch the ball to end the inning. Andrew had the hot gif action:
Ellsbury eventually left the game in the seventh inning with right hip tightness, which Girardi later said was aggravated not by crashing into the wall, but when he had to avoid a pitch while batting in the seventh inning. Gardner replaced him in center and in the highlight reels as he made a similar play to prevent a Mike Zunino fly ball from becoming anything too dangerous.
Ichiro Suzuki got in on the action as well, catching a long fly ball off the bat of Kyle Seager in the ninth inning, possibly robbing him of a home run. It was a good day to be a Yankees outfielder (minus Soriano).
Joe Girardi made a curious decision in the eighth inning by taking out the cruising Chase Whitley at 82 pitches through 7.2 innings so he could bring Matt Thornton into the game to pitch against Robinson Cano. Sure, Cano had hit Whitley hard up to this point, but there were two outs, no one was on base, and he seemed completely fine up until then. Whitley has to be stretched out at some point because he's not going to get into the eighth so easily every time out. Now would have been a good time for Girardi to let him go a little further, but instead he brings in Thornton who ends up walking Cano anyway. Well done, skipper. Overall, Whitley pitched very well, collecting six strikeouts and allowing only two runs on five hits and no walks.
Shawn Kelley made his return to the mound in the ninth inning, but he couldn't seem to shake the rust off. Dustin Ackley hit a double off Brett Gardner's glove as the outfielder nearly made another spectacular play in center. Logan Morrison then hit a ground-rule double to score the Mariners' third run of the night. Kelley was taken out and David Robertson was brought and struck out two to get the two-out save.
The Yankees offense did well tonight. Aside from big nights from Jeter and Ellsbury, Soriano had a double and a stolen base(!), Mark Teixeira had a hit and a walk, John Ryan Murphy had a single and a double, Brian Roberts collected a walk, and Carlos Beltran and Ichiro Suzuki had a hit each.