It's been an ugly few days for the Yankees. They gagged one away at home against the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon, then went to Baltimore and played piss poor baseball on their way to getting mollywhopped in the first 2 games of this series. They needed a win today to stem the tide and salvage a little something from this series if nothing else, and they did enough to get that win. I don't want to go too far in stretching 1 game into a "this is what good teams do" narrative, but all things considered it did feel a little bit like that kind of win.
Adam Warren got the stopper start today and he wasn't nearly as good as he had been in the starts leading up to this one. The O's got him for 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st after he loaded the bases with 1 out and gave up a 2-run single to Nolan Reimold, and he gave up another in the 4th on a walk, single, double exchange. The O's made him work, drawing 3 walks and fouling off 19 pitches, and they knocked him out of the game after putting 2 runners on with 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th. It was a bit of a quick hook by Joe, but it was hard to say it wasn't warranted.
Luckily for Warren, the offense did enough to get him off the hook for the loss before he was really in danger of taking it. They scored 1 in the 1st on a Brett Gardner leadoff single and Mark Teixeira 2-out RBI double and another in the 2nd on a Gardner sac fly with the bases loaded. The 5th inning was the turning point, however, as the top of the order walked the bases loaded to force Baltimore starter Mike Wright from the game with nobody out. Garrett Jones drew another walk against Brian Matusz to even the score at 3, and after a pair of strikeouts it was John Ryan Murphy coming through with a big 2-out, 2-run double to put the Yankees ahead.
Once Warren left with the lead in the bottom of the 5th, it was up to what's left of the reliable bullpen crew to hold the lead. Chasen Shreve cleaned up Warren's mess in the 5th and pitched a scoreless 6th to keep his hot streak going, Justin Wilson worked a perfect 2 innings with 3 strikeouts to get the game to the 9th, and Dellin Betances recorded his third save of the season with a clean 9th. Those guys are all going to take on bigger roles with Miller out, and today they lived up to those roles.
- Nice game for Murphy today. Went 3-5 at the plate and had the go-ahead hit. That always feels good for a young player.
- Teix continued to be an on-base and RBI guy with a 1-3 day, 1 walk, and the ribbie double. If he's not an All Star this year, the game should be abolished.
- Give major props to Justin Wilson, who was the unspoken MVP of this game. Joe clearly didn't want to use anybody other than the 3 guys he used, and Wilson pitching a perfect 2 innings with relative ease made that possible. Major slice of Girardi trust pie goes to Wilson for what he did today.
- Total bullpen line: 4.1 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 5 K. The back end is putrid at the moment, but there are a few guys out there who can get it done.
- Warren's bad start aside, this game didn't have to be this close. The Yanks went 2-12 with RISP for the second time in the series. They were 5-33 with RISP for the whole series, which is not good. But with as many chances as they created, maybe that means they're overdue to knock a few more in during the next series.