In the top of the third, the Yankees got on the board. Colin Curtis lead off with a single to center. Mitch Talbot, the Indians’ rookie pitcher, was taken out of the game with a back injury, handing the ball over to the Cleveland bullpen for the majority of the game. Derek Jeter walked and both runners moved over on Curtis Granderson’s sac bunt. Mark Teixeira walked to load the bases and Alex Rodriguez hit a sac fly to center, scoring Curtis and tying up the game 1-1.
Moseley hit his stride and kept the Tribe limited to the one run in the first, while the Indians’ bullpen had done a solid job of keeping the Yankee lineup at bay. The Yankees got an opportunity to go ahead in the sixth, with Brett Gardner leading off with a walk. He moved to second when Francisco Cervelli grounded out and then Gardner stole third. Jeter singled to center, scoring Gardner and putting the Yankees up 2-1.
The seventh inning, however, was when the Yankees truly took over. After two quick outs by Teixeira and Rodriguez, Robinson Cano hit a solo homer to right, his twentieth of the season. Nick Swisher worked a walk, as did Gardner. After a pitching change, Cervelli singled to center, scoring Swisher and moving Gardner to third. Curtis was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Jeter worked a walk, sending Gardner to the plate. Granderson followed with a single to right, sending Cervelli and Curtis home. Teixeira then worked a walk and Rodriguez singled to center, driving in Jeter and Granderson before Cano grounded out to end the inning. Suddenly, the game went from a nail-biter to a big 9-1 Yankee lead.
The Bombers added a couple of insurance runs in the top of the eighth. Swisher got things started with a double to right and Curtis singled. Ramiro Pena singled, scoring Swisher and moving Curtis to third. Granderson walked and Juan Miranda singled, bringing Curtis in to give the Yankees an 11-1 lead.
Chan Ho Park pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and came out in the ninth to finish things. He got Cabrera to fly out and then faced Choo, the first time the two Korean players have faced off, and got him to strike out. Then things started to fall apart for Park. He walked Chris Gimenez, who moved to second on a wild pitch. Park then walked Kearns and gave up a single to LaPorta, scoring Gimenez. Jayson Nix hit a grounder to third base, where Marcus Thames was playing for the first time in his career. Thames made a nice backhanded grab, but the throw went sailing very high and very wide, allowing Nix to get to second as Kearns scored. Another wild pitch by Park let LaPorta score. Park walked Shelley Duncan but finally got Luis Valbuena to pop out and end the game, with the Yankees picking up the 11-4 win.
Chan Ho Park: The Yankees had put together a great game before Park threatened to let the Indians erase the Bombers big lead. As he has done most of the season, Park put together an almost flawless first inning of relief before blowing up in his second inning (which makes me wonder why Girardi continues to throw him for two in games where they don’t have a ten run lead). Park attributed his blow-up in the ninth to his being over-excited by the matchup with Choo. Knowing that it would be big news in Korea, Park was excited to come out on top, but almost gave the game away.
Mark Teixeira: Teix went 0-2 and was the only Yankee starter not to pick up a hit. He did walk three times, however, but failed to score.
Dustin Moseley: Moseley has reportedly earned another start for the Pinstripes, and rightfully so after giving them six innings where he gave up just four hits and one run, while walking two and striking out four. Perhaps his trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame put him in the right frame of mind (seriously, if you ever find yourself in Cleveland go to the Rock Hall and plan on spending at least four hours there – its well worth it).
Curtis Granderson: Grandy is beyond hot at this point. He went 2-4 last night with two RBIs and a run scored.
Colin Curtis: The rookie got a rare start in the outfield and it paid off as he went 2-4 with three runs scored.
In the On Deck Circle:
The Yankees head to their spring home, Tampa, to take on the division rival Rays who sit just two games behind the Pinstripes right now. Phil Hughes, who continues to get the job done, although he has not been pitching as strong lately, will take the mound for the Yankees. He went 5.1 innings in his last outing (which was shortened by some rain) and gave up three runs. Interestingly, Hughes has not faced the Rays’ lineup as much as you would expect, with B.J. Upton’s six at bats against him being the most on the team. The Yankees will face Wade Davis, who is coming off a victory where he held the Indians to just two runs over 6.1 innings. The first pitch is at 7:10pm at the Trop.