What better way to get over your first series loss in a while than by starting the next series off with a win back at home? That's just what the Yankees did last night as they welcomed Baltimore to town for the first time this year. The game was too close for comfort all night, but they finally held onto the last lead they took to get this weekend 4-piece kicked off right.
Nathan Eovaldi got the start last night and he was about as Nathan Eovaldi as you'd expect. He could get ahead but he couldn't put anybody away. He could blow a fastball by you early in the count and then miss with one badly with 2 strikes and give up a hit on it later in the count. It's becoming very clear that Eovaldi still has a lot of work to do, and his development into a more refined, effective, consistent pitcher could be slow. He got touched up by Jimmy Paredes for a solo home run in the top of the 1st and then again by Caleb Joseph for one in the top of the 3rd, both on fastballs. He worked the 2nd and 4th innings in order, but gave up back-to-back doubles to start the 5th, the second one by Joseph, to give up another run.
Luckily for Nasty Nate, the Yankee offense was there to pick him up every time he gave up a run. They got 2 in the bottom of the 1st to take a brief lead on a trio of singles sandwiched around an Alex Rodriguez sac fly. It would have been a home run too, if Delmon Young hadn't made a nice leaping catcher at the wall to rob A-Rod and the Yankee Stadium crowd of the chance to see 661. But it was clear from the start of the game that Chris Tillman wasn't fooling anybody and that A-Rod would get another chance.
That chance came in the top of the 3rd, when Alex strode to the plate with 2 outs and nobody on. Tillman threw him 2 fastballs for a called strike and a ball, and then tried to get Alex to chase with a changeup down away. There was no chase. The pitch fell thigh high right over the meaty part of the plate and Alex clubbed it out into Monument Park for 661 and a 3-2 Yankee lead. The reaction from the crowd and his teammates in the dugout was universally positive, as it should have been, and he even came out for a curtain call.
Unfortunately Eovaldi didn't hold that lead either, and the offense had to make one more push in the bottom of the 5th. Brett Gardner led off the inning with a double, A-Rod struck out, and Mark "No Singles" Teixeira came up with a chance to drive in a run. It feels like he's been money in those situations this season and he came through again, lacing a hustle RBI double into the right field corner to score Gardner and put the Yanks back on top 4-3.
Eovaldi took that lead into the 6th and recorded 2 outs before giving up 2 singles and giving way to the bullpen. Justin Wilson was up first and he ended the inning on a Travis Snider groundout before working a 1-2-3 7th and passing the baton to Dellin Betances. Betances pitched a perfect inning of his own, racking up Chris Davis' 4th strikeout of the night to cap it and hand off to Andrew Miller. The big lefty made it interesting with a leadoff walk, but went pop out, K, K to shut the door. Nobody can hit that slider.
- Beastly night for the top of the batting order. Jacoby Ellsbury, Gardner, A-Rod, and Teix combined to go 8-13 with 4 R, 4 RBI, and 2 BB. That's good hittin'.
- Judge Eovaldi's line however you want. 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. The walks and the homers don't look good, but he got 14 swings and misses.
- I mentions this on Twitter after the home run, but how much space does A-Rod own in Chris Tillman's brain at this point? I don't understand how Tillman sleeps at night when he knows he's facing A-Rod and the Yankees the next day. Now, no matter what he does with the rest of his life, he'll always be the guy who gave up A-Rod's 661st home run. And when people remember that, they're also going to remember that A-Rod completely owned him.
- Nice job by Wilson to get 4 outs and limit Betances and Miller to normal 1-inning appearances. Wilson quietly has his ERA down to 2.79 and has settled into Joe's #1 situational lefty role.
- Carlos Beltran Glue Factory Watch: 0-4, 1 K. Down to .187/.227/.297 on the year.
- Chase Headley isn't exactly lighting the world on fire either. He was 1-4 last night, is down to .238/.292/.381, and his 7 errors - however fair or unfair all of them are - are 2nd most in the AL.