Make it eight straight wins. After a 1-4 start, the Yankees are now 9-4 (and 7-0 at home). They soundly beat the White Sox in the series opener at Yankee Stadium, 7-4. Just about everything went right last night: Jordan Montgomery pitched well, the bullpen was solid, and the offense was firing on all cylinders. Here are the key takeaways:
Jordan Montgomery’s first big league win
A final pitching like of three runs in six innings is technically a quality start, but never looks overly impressive at first glance. However, in Montgomery’s case, the rookie left hander pitched much better than his stat line indicates. All three of those runs were plated on a Yolmer Sanchez three-run homer in the seventh.
Montgomery shut out the White Sox in his first six innings of work on only 79 pitches. He struck out four and induced two double plays while surrending four hits and two walks in that span. The other three hits (and runs) on his line came in the seventh. All told, I’ll sign up for this performance every fifth day from a rookie for the rest of the season. Further, congratulations are due to the southpaw for his first victory in the majors.
A big third inning: Matt Holliday’s return and two out runs
After missing a couple of games against his former team because of lower back stiffness, the Yankees’ DH returned with a bang tonight:
The home run traveled 459 feet, the second longest in the majors this season (Carlos Gomez: 465 feet on opening day). I think that quelled any lingering concerns about his back locking up this past weekend. The dinger put the Yankees ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the third.
The Yankees weren’t done there, though. With the way the offense is clicking right now, runs have been piling up in a hurry. Not long after Holiday’s tater, two of the hottest hitting Yankees, Starlin Castro and Chase Headley hit back-to-back doubles to put the Yankees up 4-0. On Headley’s two-bagger, Melky Cabrera’s flub in left field allowed Headley to advance to third. Aaron Judge delivered an RBI single deep in the hole between third base and shortstop to make it 5-0. White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was able to field it with a backhand, but the throw was too long for him to throw out Judge. All 5 runs were plated with two outs.
No interference this time: Aaron Judge goes deep
A couple of innings after his RBI single, Aaron Judge did more damage. And unlike Sunday night, he didn’t leave much room for doubt. After losing a potential home run to fan interference on Sunday, Judge denied any motion for a repeat in the fifth inning. His blast went into the visitor’s bullpen and gave the Yankees a comfortable 7-0 lead. The home run was his team leading fourth of the season. That matched his total from last season, which he reached in 95 plate appearances. This year, it only took 45.
Adam Warren continues to pitch well
Once Montgomery ran out of steam, Warren took over in the seventh. He nearly completed a three inning save until he ran out of gas as well. Entering last night’s game, Warren had thrown 6.2 perfect innings to start the season. That came to an end when the right hander walked Tyler Saladino with two outs in the seventh, but the no-hitter was still in tact until the top of the eighth inning when Melky led off with a single.
Perhaps in an effort to keep Warren stretched out, Joe Girardi allowed Warren to begin the ninth inning with the 7-3 lead despite throwing 30 pitches in the prior two frames. Warren fanned Matt Davidson to open the frame, but then allowed a Yolmer Sanchez single and Kevan Smith double that shrunk the lead to 7-4. That was the end of Warren’s night. Aroldis Chapman came in for what became a save situation with the tying run on deck, and after allowing a bloop single to Leury Garcia, Tyler Saladino grounded into a double play to end the game.
- Prior to the game, the Yankees traded right handed pitcher Johnny Barbato to the Pirates for cash considerations or a player to be named later. Barbato was previously designated for assignment to make room for Montgomery on the 40-man roster last week.
- Starlin Castro tallied three hits and is now up to .365/.389/.538. He now has seven multi-hit games this season.
- Chris Carter got the nod at first base against the left-handed starter Derek Holland, but went 0 for 3. He’s sitting at an ugly .160/.214/.240 with a 28% strikeout rate in 28 plate appearances, not to mention none of his trademark home runs. It’s been hard to watch.
The middle game of this three game set against the White Sox (6-6) is at 7:05pm tonight. Luis Severino gets the ball in his third start of the season and will face Miguel Gonzalez.