When a rookie starts for your team, and he’s not heralded as an up-and-coming-ace, all you hope for is that he keeps your team in the game and gives you a shot to win the ballgame. If that happens, great. If your rookie starter more or less matches David Price, that’s fantastic. David Phelps didn’t look completely sharp at times–three walks and two hit batters in 4.1 innings–but he allowed just two hits and struck out eight Tampa batters, keeping the Yankees in the game against Price, who looked at the top of his game yesterday (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 SO).
Neither team’s offense could touch the starting pitchers in the first few innings and the first hit of the game didn’t come until there were two outs in the bottom of the fourth when (of course) Sean Rodriguez singled home Ben Zobrist to break the dueling no hitters and open the scoring. The game would remain scoreless until the seventh inning when Mark Teixeira led off with a homer to left center that was just deep enough to push itself over the wall and tie the score. Enter Boone Logan for the bottom of the seventh. Elliot Johnson led off with a single, but wasn’t advanced after a Desmond Jennings pop-up to second. With Carlos Pena coming up for the Rays, things were looking good. However, Logan hung his first and only pitch to Pena, and Pena made Logan pay by driving it to deep right field for a two-run, go ahead homer.
Down 3-1 in the eighth, the Yankees displayed their patience as Kyle Farnsworth, possibly operating under the Embedded ex-Yankee Program, couldn’t find the plate and walked Eric Chavez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera, and Alex Rodriguez; the last walk, of course, forced in a run to make it 3-2 Tampa. Lefty Jake McGee relieved Farnsworth and came in to face Robinson Cano, who has struggled with men on base all season. There was no struggle yesterday, though, as Cano eventually ripped a single up the middle, scoring two runners and giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead. David Robertson (1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) and Rafael Soriano (1 IP, 1 K) and the Yankees secured their first victory in Tampa this year, erasing a nine-game losing streak at Tropicana Field.
–Big ups to the Yankee pen, tossing 4.2 great innings. Aside from the one pitch to Pena, they were stellar.