Offense, Sabathia, lift Yankees to 8-3 wins over Twins

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t C.C. at his best or anything, and for a while it looked like it might be another rough outing for Sabathia as he allowed the Twins three runs through their first three innings. Josh Willingham took him deep to Monument Park in the second inning, and Sabathia allowed two runs in the third on a very strange sequence of events. Alexi Casilla singled with one out, and then after Denard Span didn’t like a first pitch called strike, home plate umpire Greg Gibson tossed both he and manager Ron Gardenhire from the game. When play finally resumed, Casilla advanced to second on a walk, and was then brought home by a double from Clete Thomas, who replaced Span. Thomas would then score on a single from Jamey Carroll, staking the Twins to a 3-1 lead.

The Yankees offense hadn’t helped much to that point, blowing a good chance to do some damage in the 2nd inning, and prompting concerns that we might be in for another irritating bout of RSIPFail. The inning started when Curtis Granderson drew a walk and then advanced to second on a balk (yes, both starting pitchers were called for a balk in this game, in addition to Gibson’s home plate shenanigans). Eduardo Nunez then moved him to third with a bunt single, and Brett Gardner brought him home with a ground rule double that put runners at second and third with no one out. That’s all the Yankees would get, however, as Chris Stewart couldn’t bring Nunez home with a ground ball, Derek Jeter struck out and, following a walk by Nick Swisher to load the bases, Robinson Cano ground out to end the inning and strand the bases loaded.

All was made up for in the third, however, when the bats broke out for four runs in the inning on the strength of three straight one out singles from Andruw Jones, Granderson, and Nunez before Gardner walked to load the bases with the score 3-2 and the light hitting Stewart once again coming to the plate. This time, however, Stewart ripped a solid single into left field, scoring Granderson and Nunez and moving Gardner to third with one out. That hit chased Liriano from the game after just 2.1 innings pitched, but Derek Jeter would promptly drive a pitch deep to right field. It didn’t drop for a hit, but the sac fly did bring Gardner in to stretch the Yankees’ lead to 5-3.

That would prove to be all Sabathia needed, as the big man finally settled into a groove and held the Twins scoreless the rest of the way. Sabathia would allow just two more baserunners to the Twins after the 3rd inning on a walk and an error by Alex Rodriguez, and at one point retired 13 Twins in a row. The offense tacked on three more insurance runs in the 4th, 5th, and 7th innings and David Robertson and Cory Wade allowed just one Twin to reach base between them while recording the game’s final five outs as the Yankees rebounded from a disappointing loss Monday night to even this four game series at 1-1.

Curtain calls:

C.C. Sabathia: Sabathia finally settled in and looked the pitcher we all know and love, especially after the 3rd inning. He pitched into the 8th inning in this, recording the first out of the frame before Joe Girardi decided to remove him after 112 total pitches. His final line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. It wasn’t his most dominant outing, but it was pretty darn good, and it’s hard to complain about 7+ innings of three run ball from your ace in the season’s first two weeks.

Brett Gardner:Brett the Jet had a big night in all aspects of the game, going 2-2 with two doubles, three runs scored, and two walks. He also stole second after one of the walks for good measure, and made a tremendous sliding catch to rob Josh Willingham of a hit and end the third inning.

Chris Stewart: The Yankees’ new light hitting backup catcher had one of the best games of his career, collecting three RBI on a couple of singles. It was the first three RBI game of his career.

Cory Wade: Wade has been pitching quite well in middle relief situations to open the season, but he had his first real hiccup in Monday night’s loss. Nevertheless, Joe Girardi called on him the very next night to put the game to bed in the 9th, and Wade responded with a perfect inning, including a strikeout of Trevor Plouffe to end the game. That’s a nice way to bounce back.

Bronx cheers:

Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod was 0-4 with a strikeout in this one, and also made an error in the field when a ball got through him at third base.

Umpires: I’ve seen a lot of petty displays from umpires in my day, but Greg Gibson’s antics in the third inning are right up there with the best of them. Denard Span was (rightly) peeved about a bad strike call to open the at bat, and was chirping about it to the umpire. Gibson decided to respond by stopping the game to toss Span just as he was digging in for the next pitch, showing the player up about as much as he possibly could. For all of the talk about how players and managers need to show respect for umpires to protect the integrity of the game, it was without question the umpire who caused a scene tonight. I didn’t even really notice Span jawing all that much at first, but the spat was front and center after Gibson decided to give the paying customers what they came to see. Just awful.

Up next:

The Yankees will look to keep the offense rolling when they hook up with the Twins in the penultimate game of this series. Hiroki Kuroda will be on the mound for the Bombers, and I expect he’ll get a rather nice reception in his second Yankee Stadium start. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 P.M.

12 thoughts on “Offense, Sabathia, lift Yankees to 8-3 wins over Twins

  1. williamjtasker

    I learned a lesson tonight. I turned off the game after Sabathia gave up the second and third runs. Watched NCIS and came back to a very happy surprise. That will teach me.

    • BrienJackson

      I walked away during the last two outs of the inning to check on Charleston's game, and not even just because I had to write it up. :)

  2. Boni

    William J., I was raised catholic but it took the Yankees to teach me the power of faith! Love you all!

  3. Hugh

    I'm going to restart a topic from last year by taking issue somewhat with your construction of events leading to the ejections.

    Having had the chance to watch replays of it twice on mlb.com highlights this morning, it looks very much like, after a measure of discussion on the question of the (shaky-looking) strike call, the umpire was down and ready for the next pitch but Span couldn't stop yakking about it, even as he himself got ready to take the next pitch. The timing of the ejection was not, as your report suggests, designed to show up the player but more as an immediate response to one comment too many from the player. Gardenhire was subsequently ejected because, perhaps partly influenced by an earlier balk call he didn't care for, he felt he had to remonstrate in the most demonstrative manner he could possibly manage for a prolonged period of time. Both player and manager know how these things go.

    • Hugh

      Players throw, field and hit the ball. Umpires make calls according to the rules as they interpret them. Both sets of people do so as best they can. Both sets of people get it wrong from time to time.

      Professional umpires presumably refrain from telling players they suck even when they do. Players and managers should do the same. It is ordinary good manners so to do. I am 100% happy to see players and managers who cannot control their mouths/ tempers/ manners be ejected from the game.

      I realise that it seems to have become part of the culture of the game but I would also add that the fact that some players and managers routinely seem to think that being ejected from the game is license to really throw their toys from the pram and lose any semblance of self-control is wholly unseemly. When I'm Commisioner for the day, I'm instituting automatic suspensions for any ejected player or manager who is still on the playing area/ dugout twenty seconds after being ejected!

      • dar34

        Players sucking has no impact on the quality of the umpires job. However, a poor job by an umpire does have an effect on the players job.

        • Hugh

          And it always has done and always will do. Nothing new there. I wasn't brought up to speak back to umpires or referees and I bet you weren't too. You take the bad with the good (and you get plenty of that too sometimes, right?) and get on with the game. Everything else is bad manners and a poor show of character.

    • BrienJackson

      I'm not overly sure I agree with that interpretation of things. At the least, Gibson was certainly "patient" with both Span and Gardenhire, and with Span in particular made about the most showy scene of himself he could have, short of calling time mid windup to toss Span. Then he gets to stand at home plate, mask off and chest puffed as the crowd cheers him for tossing Gardenhire. That's not professional behavior, and if you really want to change the umpire/everyone else dynamic you should:

      a) Crack down swiftly on this sort of belligerent showboating.

      b) Make punishments for umpires public.

      Then again, maybe I'm just prickly because Phil Cuzzi and Gerry Davis are in this crew, and I always get annoyed when I remember that those two boobs still have jobs.

      • David

        OTOneH, I absolutely LOVED Stewart's response to the whole thing. Calmly walking slowly towards the pitcher's mound, avoiding eye contact and a "I want zero part of this" face.

        OTOH, Span looked like it was all his fault. Am I misremebering, or did he – when he got back to the box the first time – actually say to the ump that he meant no disrespect (which seems to be what calmed everything) and then said something again while back in the box (which is where he got tossed)? I understand complaints about Joe West and other such "umpires" — but this guy at least seemed to be on the up and up.

      • Hugh

        a) Never quite been sure why umpires feel the need to be quite as demonstrative with their gestures as they sometimes are and would happily see some much more modest signing in future. But this completely misses the point that Span would never have got tossed in the first place if he hadn't been so rude as to question the umpire's call so clearly and then to ignore such a clear opportunity to shut up and get on with the game.

        b) There is absolutely no reason to punish the umpire for anything he did here. As I said, on my Commissioner day, I might also get the umps to be less demonstrative with their signals, but that's it. The rest is a player and a manager behaving like spoilt children. Please let's stop making excuses for it and start expecting a bit better in these situations from people who make a living from playing the game in front of paying customers and should really be aiming to be models in every part of the way they do so.

  4. williamjtasker

    Heh, my wife tells me the same thing. You are both right, of course.

  5. jay_robertson

    Just saying, I know Stewart is "light-hitting," but if the trend keeps up, couldn't we also apply that term to our third baseman?

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