The Yankees are undefeated in Grapefruit league play thanks to an 8-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves. I know, it’s only one game and it’s Spring Training but I’m just happy to be able to write about an actual game. The last set of games the Yankees played left a pretty bad taste in everyone’s mouth so a victory, even in exhibition play, is nice to recap.
Paul Maholm, who started for Atlanta, kept the Yankees off the scoreboard for two innings. Robinson Cano reached on an error in the first but was erased from the bases when Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the second, set the Yankees down in order.
Things changed in the third when Jordan Walden came into the game to replace Maholm. Melky Mesa reached base when third baseman Chris Johnson dropped a pop up in front of the plate. That play ignited the Yankees and they ended up scoring four runs in the inning.
Mesa stole second when Zoilo Almonte was up in the inning, Walden threw a ball that got past catcher Christian Bethancourt which allowed Mesa to advance to third. Almonte then made Walden pay when he took Walden’s 1-2 offering to left centerfield for a two-run home run putting the Yankees up 2-0.
Two batters later, Eduardo Nunez hit a double which was followed by a Dan Uggla error that allowed Cano to reach base and advanced Nunez to third. Teixeira grounded out and Nunez scored to put the Yankees up 3-0 while Cano advanced to second. Juan Rivera followed with a single to right field which moved Cano to third. Walden who wasn’t helping his own cause then threw wild pitch while Matt Diaz was batting and that allowed Cano to score from third putting the Yanks up 4-0.
Cano added a home run of his own – an opposite field shot – in the fifth inning off Yohan Flande to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead.
The Yankees had another big inning in the seventh when they scored three more runs. Dan Johnson walked to lead off the inning. His walk was followed by singles from Gil Velazquez and Jose Pirela – Johnson scored on Pirela’s hit. Following a J.R. Murphy walk to load the bases for the Yankees, Austin Romine hit a two-run single scoring both Velazquez and Pirela to put the Yankees up 8-3.
David Phelps, who started the game for the Yankees, gave up three hits and no runs in two innings. Brett Marshall allowed one run in two innings and Mikey O’Brien allowed two runs on a home run by Evan Gattis in the sixth.
The Yankees will be back home at Steinbrenner Field tomorrow for their game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The game is on the YES Network for the local folks and MLB Network is airing it as well for those outside of New York. It starts at 1:05 p.m.