After torturing fans with three consecutive low-scoring, dull games, the Yankee bats came alive against Chicago Thursday night, tagging the White Sox for twelve runs and thirteen hits. But the box score doesn’t tell the full story of this game. There were at least four separate storylines.
It all went away tremendously, but Edwin Jackson actually had an ugly Edwin Jackson style no-hitter going against the Yankees through the first four innings of the ball game. For those who don’t remember, Jackson actually recorded a 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter last season with the Diamondbacks. He started out this game in similar fashion, only worse. In the third inning he walked four consecutive Yankees, giving Nick Swisher an RBI and then gave up a sac fly to Robinson Cano. At the end of the inning Jackson had yet to allow a hit, but was losing 2-0. Through the first four innings Thursday’s game looked like a bad version of the previous three, an ugly, low-scoring affair. But the cracks were showing.
The Yankees exploded in the fifth. First, Brett Gardner knocked another home run, his third of the season. Then, Eduardo Nunez doubled. After that, Curtis Granderson hit a triple. Nick Swisher then hit a single. Robinson Cano followed that up with another single. Alex Rodriguez followed that up with an opposite field double. Eric Chavez drew a walk. Russell Martin singled. Jorge Posada walked.
In total, the Yankees scored six runs in the inning before the White Sox recorded an out for an amazing rally. Jackson was out of the game. Just about every Yankee not named Posada got a hit. The bats were officially awake.
CC Sabathia, meanwhile, was dealing. He labored a bit in the first couple of innings, before falling into a groove around the third. He had all his pitches working. He was running his four seamer up to 94mph on the gun with ease. He was mixing in a low two seamer on the outside corner that righties were helpless against. Batters were swinging over that nasty 86mph changeup he throws, and he was mixing in an 80mph breaking ball for strikes as well. In total it was vintage CC.
Sabathia had complete game shutout written all over him until the seventh inning happened. Sabathia’s line was 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO. He had gotten through 6.2 innings on under 90 pitches. The complete game was certainly possible and the eighth inning was definitely happening when Nunez overthrew what should have been the third out of the inning. CC recovered, but Eric Chavez was subbing in at first to give Mark Teixeira time to rest his shoulder. Chavez clearly can’t play first. He fielded a grounder right in front of Cano, drawing himself so far off the bag that no one was covering first, allowing another out to reach safely. CC let some hits slip in after that, putting a bit of a negative twist on what was otherwise an excellent performance.
In addition to all the different twists and turns of the game, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner both had big nights. Swisher broke out of his slump in a big way. He went 3-4 with four RBI and his first homer of the year, a homer that came from the left-side of the plate, where he has struggled. Gardner’s home run was actually the first Yankee hit of the game. Brett went 2-3 on the night, also picking up a double and a walk. Hopefully these two guys turn it around. The Yankees need to balance their attack as the season drags on.
What self-respecting Yankee fan doesn’t love a 12-3 pounding? My only complaint is that the fielders blew a chance for the game to be 12-0. The bats came alive just in time because the Toronto Jose Bautista‘s come into New York tomorrow. Ricky Romero takes on Freddy Garcia. Romero has gotten off to a good start, while Garcia looks to continue his unexpected strong start to the season. Game starts at 7pm.