We’ve been saying for weeks now that the Yankees lineup would look a lot better once a couple of the major injuries were resolved. Today, the team got the first glimpse of a near-optimal lineup in months, as both Starlin Castro and Greg Bird were huge parts of a 6-3 Yankee win.
The offense was out early, scoring the first run of the game in the second inning. Following back-to-back walks to Castro and Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury laced a single to left that brought in All-Starlin. A classically terrible send from Joe Espada left Bird nailed at home, but the early lead was there. Two innings later, the same part of the lineup combined for a little more offense, as Greg Bird singled in front of a Chase Headley walk. Once again, Ellsbury came up with men on base to launch a three-run home run.
Hail to the Chief, indeed.
On the pitching side, Sonny Gray logged another ho hum excellent start. Today, he went seven innings, giving up just three hits, one a solo home run, and struck out nine Mariners. Pickles is a special talent, and so far in New York he’s showing everyone why he was so relentlessly pursued by the Yankees front office. It was a little funny to see Gray handle Ben Gamel and Nelson Cruz with ease, only to be taken deep by Carlos Ruiz of all people, but that’s baseball.
Castro chipped in again offensively in the seventh, slapping a bases-loaded single that drove in two more runs and gave the Yankees valuable insurance, at the time putting the Bronx Bombers up by five. That insurance was drawn upon an inning later, as Chasen Shreve failed to record an out in his relief appearance, ceding to Tommy Kahnle with multiple men on. Kahnle get out of the inning after a pair scored, turning the game into a save situation for Dellin Betances.
Betances was simply outstanding, throwing 14 pitches while striking out two in a clean ninth. It’s Dellin’s tenth save of the season as he and David Robertson appear to be restoring some semblance of stability to the ninth inning lately.
The rubber match with Seattle goes tomorrow, with Masahiro Tanaka scheduled to start against lefty Andrew Albers.