It was a very early night for me last night, so I didn't see the late rally by either team, but I think I saw everything I needed to see in the early innings as the Yankees dropped their second straight to a team right in front of them in the Wild Card race.
Michael Pineda gave up 5 hits and 3 earned runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. 3 of the 5 hits and all of the runs came with 2 outs in the inning, and more than 1 of the hits came with 2 strikes. It was classic Pineda, nothing we haven't seen before.
The Yankees should have been able to overcome that early deficit against Dillon Gee and his 5+ ERA as a starter, but instead they curled up into a ball and pissed themselves for the first 7 innings, scraping 1 run across on a pair of doubles in the top of the 4th. There have been some bad games this year, but getting held to 1 run over 6 innings by Dillon Gee might be one of the lowest points.
In keeping with typical Pineda tradition, Joe left him in to start the 7th after he breezed through the previous 5 innings. Of course Pineda caved and gave up base hits to the first 2 batters of the inning. Joe compounded his previous bad decision by making an ever dumber one and bringing Tommy Layne into a 2-run game. Layne gave up a 3-run home run to Alcides Escobar, pushing the Royals lead to 6-1 and opening the floodgates for an even bigger inning.
To their credit, the offense did mount a comeback in the top of the 8th. A leadoff catcher's interference by Jacoby Ellsbury, a walk, and a hit batsman loaded the bases with no outs, and Didi Gregorius came through with a 2-run double to get things started. Starlin Castro sac flew in another run to bring the Yankees within 4, and a Chase Headley ribbie single made it 8-5. Unfortunately that was when the rally stopped and the disastrous bottom of the 7th was too big a hill to climb.
- 6+ IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 8 K for Pineda. You know, the usual.
- Close game in the late innings and the 3 relievers that get used are Tommy Layne, Blake Parker, and Kirby Yates. I'm not even going to try to explain that or make a playoff contending joke. It's just bad managing.
- Big game for Didi hitting in the cleanup spot again. 3-5 2 doubles, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI.
- Starlin Castro also drove in 2 runs, and Tyler Austin had 2 hits.
- The catcher's interference was Ellsbury's 11th of the season. What an incredible accomplishment for him. Amazing stuff.