When the 2016 season began, absolutely no one expected Chris Parmelee and Anthony Swarzak to affect the outcome of any games. Both were far down on the depth chart and unlikely to make an appearance in the big leagues this year, even though they had previous experience in The Show (particularly with the Twins). To their credit, they played well in Triple-A Scranton, and when opportunity presented itself, they were ready. Thanks to them, the Yankees overcame deficits to eventually bludgeon the Angels on Wednesday night by a score of 12-6.
It was apparent from the start that despite the vast difference in velocity, Nathan Eovaldi and Jered Weaver were on their way to similar ugly nights. Kole Calhoun, the second batter of the game, crushed a ground rule double to right-center field, and Mike Trout easily brought him home with an RBI single. Not to be outdone, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner led off the home half of the first with doubles of their own to even the score, and Alex Rodriguez smacked a go-ahead single. The lead did not last. This pattern would continue.
Eovaldi's pitches turned out to not have much movement, and the Angels capitalized again. A Rafael Ortega double was followed shortly thereafter by a two-run no-doubter from forgotten 2015 Yankee Gregorio Petit, his first homer in 21 months. Another mostly anonymous name made Eovaldi pay the next inning too, as first baseman Jefry Marte took him deep, putting the Angels up by two runs.
The Yankees bounced right back in the third when Ellsbury blasted a Weaver offering deep into the New York night on a homer that soared higher than any other ball hit this year. It only counted for one run though, and despite putting two more runners on, they could not score. Eovaldi was then rewarded for his only perfect inning with a tie ballgame. Making his first start of the season, Parmelee doubled, but it looked like the rally was over when Ellsbury lined out to right. Not so fast--for the sixth time this year, Ellsbury clipped the catcher's glove and reached on interference. The bizarre skill was rewarded once more, as Gardner singled Parmelee home to make it 4-4.
However, the Angels were not quite done pounding Eovaldi. The hard-throwing righty allowed his fifth and sixth extra base hits, as both Trout and Albert Pujols smoked doubles to give the Angels a 5-4 lead. He retired the next three batters in order, but after Petit knocked a one-out single in the sixth, Joe Girardi had seen enough. In 5 1/3 innings, Eovaldi gave up five runs on 10 hits and a walk, looking hardly like the dominating pitcher fans saw in May.
Trailing at this point, Girardi turned to Swarzak, a man unfamiliar to almost everyone at Yankee Stadium. A non-roster invitee to spring training this year and a former Twins starter, he was getting rocked in the Korean baseball league less than a year ago. Only recently recalled from Scranton since the team was tired of Luis Cessa collecting rust, Swarzak surprised tonight with a near-spotless performance. Following a single by Yunel Escobar, he fanned Calhoun and managed to get Trout to ground out to end the inning. He pitched a perfect seventh too and ended up with his first big league victory since August 28, 2014.
With former teammate Swarzak stemming the tide on the mound, Parmelee led off the sixth ready to give the Yankees the lead. He bombed Weaver's pitch into the right field seats for his first homer of 2016. That opened the floodgates. After a one-out walk to Ellsbury, Weaver departed in favor of Jose Alvarez, who provided no relief. Gardner singled and Beltran lined an RBI double. Cam Bedrosian was next, but he was also poor, as Brian McCann went the opposite way for a two-run single to put the Yankees up by three.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees put the game away against new pitcher Greg Mahle, who unsurprisingly was demoted before the night was over. Didi Gregorius led off with a single and Parmelee stunned the crowd with his second homer of the game, a two-run shot. The team's home run leader wanted to get in on the fun, too. So a few batters later, Beltran launched his 16th longball of the year, a two-run jolt of his own that ran the score up to 12-5. That effectively sealed the game, despite Mike Trout doing monstrous Mike Trout things to Nick Goody in the ninth.
The Yankees will go for both the four-game sweep and a return to .500 tomorrow night, as Ivan Nova takes on Jhoulys Chacin at 7:05.