Following last night's late-inning power display, the New York Yankees picked up right where they left off and continued their hot hitting. Michael Pineda also took another step forward following his early-season struggles. The Yankees took game two of the series over the Angels by a score of 6-3.
Veteran left-hander David Huff made his 2016 season debut with a spot start for the Angels. The lineup got to him early, pushing across three runs in the first inning. Carlos Beltran put the Yankees on the board with a one-out, two-run home run, his 15th on the season. Starlin Castro also scored via an Austin Romine RBI double. From the outset, it was evident that Huff was going to be in danger all night. The Angels defense did him no favors either, but more on that later.
The Yankees continued to punish Huff in the second and third innings. A Rob Refsnyder sacrifice fly in the second plated Aaron Hicks, making it 4-0. In the third, Castro took Huff deep for a solo shot off of the right field foul pole to increase the lead to 5-0. Last night, he hit a long home run to left field; tonight he drove one into right. Castro is a streaky player and can take some ugly swings. That said, when he's hot, he's a can't miss at-bat. All told, Huff gave up five runs in 3.2 innings. That line is a lot more enjoyable when Huff is not pitching for the Yankees.
Speaking of Yankees pitchers, Pineda turned in his second straight quality outing with his performance on Tuesday night. He held the Angels to three runs in seven innings while striking out four. Pineda looked strong for most of the game, keeping the Angels lineup off balance with his fastball/slider combination. He struck out Mike Trout on four pitches to end the top half of the first inning. We all saw that one coming, right?
It wasn't all easy, however. Pineda worked himself into trouble in the fifth inning. Angels shortstop (and former Yankee) Gregorio Petit drove in Rafael Ortega to put the Angels on the board. Kole Calhoun followed that up by launching a two-run home run, making it 5-3, Yankees. Pineda deserves credit, he settled down and managed to limit the damage. He went on to pitch another two scoreless innings. Given the way Pineda has pitched this season, seven innings of three-run ball is a significant improvement. Hopefully Big Mike can keep this up and pitch closer to his career numbers.
With a lead after seven innings, Joe Girardi turned to Dellin Betances, who fired a 1-2-3 eighth. Andrew Miller came in for the ninth and worked around a one-out double by C.J. Cron. He picked up his seventh save of the season. The back end of the Yankees bullpen sure is something special.
Some leftovers: Mike Scioscia could not have been pleased with his team's defensive miscues. In the first inning, third baseman Yunel Escobar forgot how many outs there were. He missed an opportunity to start a double play, which set up Romine's RBI double. In the bottom of the second inning, first baseman Albert Pujols dropped an iffy throw from Huff after fielding Brett Gardner's drag bunt.
Petit added to the Angels defensive woes when Gardner attempted to steal second base in the seventh inning. Catcher Carlos Perez's throw was on target but Petit couldn't hang on to it. Not one for the highlight reel.The Yankees picked up their sixth run of the evening immediately after Gardner's stolen base. Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI single off of Angels relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian. Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-hit for Refsnyder in the seventh, and first baseman Chris Parmelee came in as a defensive replacement.
Lastly, it's HOPE Week. Tonight the Yankees recognized Cleaning for a Reason, which provides home cleaning services for women undergoing treatment for cancer. Girardi, Ellsbury, Castro, and others pitched in to clean a home this afternoon. Great stuff.
The Yankees and the Angels continue their four-game series tomorrow night. Nathan Eovaldi and Jered Weaver will take the mound. The game starts at 7:05 PM and can be caught on YES.