The 0-1 and all but doomed 2015 Yankees took back to the diamond last night to attempt to get their first win. They had big right-hander Michael Pineda on the mound and he was looking to get off to the right start after a very strong Spring Training. I wrote a little about some of those good signs he showed in ST and a few more good signs he could show last night, and while he didn't show all those signs he was still plenty good enough to win on a cold early April night.
Pineda retired the first 6 he faced in order, then got in trouble in the top of the 3rd on a leadoff infield single and a line drive double by Justin Smoak. Another GB single/bad throw by Didi Gregorius in the next at-bat gave Toronto their first run and the early lead. They scored their second and last against Pineda in the 5th on a pair of GB singles and a sac fly by former Yankee Russell Martin. Big Mike wasn't bad at all, but he wasn't as dominating as he was at times in ST. Chalk it up to the cold weather.
Pineda had the same lineup behind him that Tanaka had on Opening Day, and this time they actually put multiple runs on the board. It took a while to get the first one, which Jacoby Ellsbury manufactured in the bottom of the 6th with a leadoff single and a stolen base. He moved to third on a Brett Gardner groundout and a Carlos Beltran sac fly to make it a 2-1 game.
The big rally came in the bottom of the 8th and it was an atypical rally. Chris Young led the inning off with the old pop-up double, and an Ellsbury base hit and Gardner HBP loaded the bases with nobody out. Toronto reliever Brett Cecil then proceeded to tie the game on a wild pitch and another HBP to Brian McCann, and his deflection helped turn Chase Headley's at-bat in the inning into a go-ahead base hit.
An uneven bullpen performance behind Pineda led to Andrew Miller getting the safe opportunity in the top of the 9th and he converted it with a 1-2-3 frame. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't convincing, but it was a W and it got the Yankees back to .500.
- Pineda's line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. He threw 62 strikes on 96 pitches and wasn't especially nasty. Low 90s fastball, some good sliders, good changeups. A good outing for sure, plenty good considering the conditions.
- Nice day for Ellsbury at the top of the lineup. He singled twice, walked twice, and scored half the team's runs. Perfect output from a leadoff hitter.
- Headley was the only other multi-hit player in the lineup, with a 2-4 night and the aforementioned ribbie.
- Dellin Betances was the uneven part of the relief group, giving up the third Toronto run on a hit and 2 walks in the top of the 8th. His heater was mid-high 90s from what I read, but he had zero command of it. He's fixed his mechanics before. He and Roth can fix them again.
- Chris Martin pitched before him in the 7th and turned in another perfect inning. Between he, Betances, and Miller in the 9th, that's a lot of tall humans throwing important late-game innings.
- Tough day for Al from Miami, who went 0-4 with 2 K and 5 LOB. Probably time to cut him.
- No worries on the Gardner and Big Mac HBPs. Sounds like a little ice and they'll both be in the lineup tonight.