There hasn't been a lot to feel good about this season for the Yankees, and even writing that seems like a huge understatement. Play has been sloppy, losses have been excruciating, and injuries have already started piling up, but the team scratched out a fantastic win against the Red Sox after falling behind early and it couldn't have felt better.
Michael Pineda, as he has been known to do, struggled early on. He allowed a two-run homer to David Ortiz in the first inning that created a pretty deep hole for the lackluster offense to climb out of. The major knock on Pineda is that his struggles seem to snowball once he starts, for the lack of a better word, pouting about not doing well. It looked like things might get away from him early, but he managed to keep it together enough for his team to pick him up.
The Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the first inning when Brian McCann doubled to score Jacoby Ellsbury. Unfortunately, Ellsbury grabbed his hip when rounding third on a steal and would need to come out of the game. The team is calling it a tight hip, but who knows how serious it actually is. Ellsbury went for an MRI that revealed a strained hip muscle, leaving him day-to-day. We'll see how that goes.
Dustin Ackley came on to replace Ellsbury in the outfield, and his single in the second inning brought home Starlin Castro to tie the score. The score would remain tied until the seventh inning as both starting pitchers settled in from their early struggles.
Pineda ended up giving the team six innings of two-run ball, even though he allowed eight hits. He only walked one batter and turned the ball over to the bullpen with the game tied. Chasen Shreve, Kirby Yates, and Dellin Betances combined for most of the seventh and eighth innings, holding the Red Sox scoreless, until Andrew Miller came on for a four-out save.
The big break for the Yankees came in the seventh inning when Aaron Hicks, atoning for a rough night in center field, launched the longest Yankee homer of the season to put New York on top. It was a perfect time for his first home run of the year, and hopefully a way for him to get going at the plate.
Watching the ninth inning was a tense situation for everyone. The Red Sox got the leadoff batter on via an infield single before Miller got Mookie Betts swinging. Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts singled back to back to load the bases with David Ortiz at the plate. As great as Miller has been all season, it didn't seem like he had his best, dominating stuff tonight.
Ortiz did not enjoy a call for strike two that appeared to cross the plate but was caught low by McCann. Manager John Farrell was tossed for arguing balls and strikes but failed to leave the dugout. Ortiz struck out looking on the next pitch. He argued, then ran back on the field, threw a couple things, had to be restrained, and was tossed from the game. Few moments are as sweet as that, but it was truly a treat. Miller, undeterred by having to wait for the dust to settle, struck out Hanley Ramirez to end the game.
The Yankees have sort of looked like they have been sleep walking through a large chunk of the season so far. Maybe that is to be expected when the results are as they have been, but it was nice to see a spark or two in tonight's game. This game may not mean anything when we look back at the full picture of 2016, but at least for tonight it feels significant. This was the best win of the season so far.