Yankees 6, Rays 2: The Zoilo Almonte Show

When I posted the lineups earlier today, I excitedly typed "ZOILO!!!!" near the bottom of the page because it was to be Zoilo Almonte's first start as a Yankee. And why was I excited? Maybe it's because the name Zoilo sounds like it could be the name of a comic book hero who likes to save damsels in distress, or maybe I just wanted to see someone else out there instead of Vernon Wells who has been flailing away at bad pitches and looking terrible at the plate.

Well, my excitement would be rewarded by Almonte who took advantage of his opportunity in the bright lights of the Bronx and finished the night 3-4 with two singles and a home run that landed in the Yankees' bullpen.

The Yankees played a little small ball tonight and actually got their first four runs on a sac fly, a bunt ground out, a double play and an infield single. Their fifth run was courtesy of Almonte's home run in the sixth inning which earned him a Yankee Stadium curtain call.

David Phelps started for the Yanks and threw a lot of pitches but he managed to make it into the sixth inning, having given up only two earned runs on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Tampa scored their runs in the third and fourth innings. Ben Zobrist singled in a run in the third and Luke Scott also singled in a run in the next frame before Phelps worked into and out of a bases loaded jam with only one out. After that, Phelps and the bullpen - Boone Logan, Shawn Kelley, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, who combined for 3.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball with four strikeouts - shut them down. Kelley, who has been a strikeout machine so far this season accounted for two of those four strikeouts.

Tampa's starter Roberto Hernandez, gave up five runs on nine hits and now has given up five or more runs in five starts this season.

So the Yankees evened the series at one apiece with two more games to play. It was announced after the game that Ivan Nova will be starting Sunday's game.

Some notes:

  • Lyle Overbay, who knocked in the Yankees' sixth run of the night, now has 33 RBI this season.
  • Robinson Cano has 44.
  • The Yankees are now 30-5 in games in which they score the first run.