They made it! It's been a long battle to get there, but the Yankees finally reached the 10 games over .500 plateau last night with a close win over the division rival Orioles. Once again it was the combination of just enough starting pitching, just enough offense, and a lockdown bullpen getting the job done.
The offense staked Nathan Eovaldi to a lead with a couple of early manufactured runs. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to lead off the bottom of the 1st, moved to third on a Brett Gardner sac bunt, and scored on an Alex Rodriguez sac fly. A pair of singles by Brian McCann and Chris Young put them in business in the bottom of the 2nd, and Chase Headley doubled in a run to make it 2-0.
The Yankees failed to tack on more in that inning though, and Eovaldi walked a fine line in working 5 scoreless innings. He stranded a leadoff walk in the 1st and worked around 2 to keep Baltimore off the board in the 5th. In between he was actually pretty dominant, handcuffing the Oriole hitters with a sick mix of upper 90s heat, low 90s splitters, and sharp curveballs. It was arguably the best he's looked as a Yankee.
So of course he got ground ball singled to death before he could get out of the 6th and got 2 runs charged to him before Justin Wilson could finish the inning. That's just how Eovaldi rolls. No matter. The Yankees just came back with one of their classic Didi Gregorius-Brendan Ryan 2-out rallies in the bottom half. Didi singled, Ryan doubled down the left field line to score him, and it was all up to the 'pen.
- 2-hit nights for Headley, Young, and Mark Teixeira. They had 5 doubles as a team and Teix had 2 of them.
- 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. More of the usual from Eovaldi. Great stuff, looked spectacular a few times, put too many runners on, wasn't efficient, didn't complete 6 innings. There is obvious improvement in his game though. If he can put it together, he's going to be very good.
- Only hitter in the lineup without a hit was A-Rod. Go figure.
- Strange decision by Joe to let Chris Young face a righty with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 7th. I know he values Young's defense late in games, but that situation was screaming for Carlos Beltran and scoring more runs there are way more important than preventing potential future runs.
- Kudos to Ryan for the great troll work in coming up with the game-winning RBI. I know that's not his intention, but it's still pretty funny to watch everybody (myself included) bash the guy for days and then have to celebrate when he comes up big.