Michael Pineda pitched well enough to keep the Yankees in the contest, and his offense mounted two separate five run innings to rally against the Pirates and win in yesterday's matchup against the Pirates. The Yanks slugged three home runs in the late surge, spoiling a good start from the Pirates' Jameson Taillon and overcoming a three run deficit to pull out a win.
Down three runs to start the sixth, the offense this game over. Castro snuck a Taillon offering over the left field wall for a three-run-dinger to tie up the game, and Torreyes followed him up with a big two-run double to give the Yanks their first lead. In the eighth, the Yanks used a two-out error to mount another five run rally, this time using a Chris Carter pinch-hit-throat-punch-three-run-home-run and a Chase Headley RBI double. The Yanks left the eighth with a five run lead, and Aaron Judge added a solo thunderclap of a home run in the ninth to the bleachers in left. Game over. Offense wins.
On paper, Big Mike's line (5 IP, 3 ER, 6K, 2 BB) doesn't seem that impressive, but given his inconsistency last year, the team has to consider this a solid effort for an outing where he struggled with both slider and fastball command. Mike surrendered a homer to McCutchen on a toothless slider that found too much of the plate. Two innings later, David Freese took a high fastball over the right-centerfield fence. Neither pitch was ideal, but you also have to give the Pirates' hitters some credit, taking both of Pineda's offerings to deep parts of the park.
The bullpen picked up for Big Mike in the sixth inning with some mixed results. Holder and Clippard combined to immediately surrender a two-run lead that the offense had just furnished them. Joe brought in Delin to stop the silliness, though, and the ensuing Betances-Mitchell-Chapman trio allowed one base runner over the remaining 2.2 innings for the Yanks. Mitchell looked the best of the three, though. He looked fresh and aggressive, topping out at 97 mph on the 'gun. It would be nice to see him spell Clippard more in the future.
- The way Castro sauntered on his home run, you would have thought the ball was going to clear the river. Instead, the homer barely cleared the fence in left field. Between him and Aaron Hicks, the Yanks have two masters of wall-scraping home runs in the majors.
- Chris Carter and Aaron Judge are not wall-scrapers, though. Their respective shots were monstrous no-doubters. Great to see Carter join in on the fun, too, as he hasn't seen as much time as he probably would have liked.
- Judge is now hitting to a .281 average with a 1.016 OPS and six home runs. Scott, remember that I took the over on his projected hitting line. I'm just saying.
- Backups playing like starters: Ronny Torreyes went 4-5, raising his average to .296 for the season, and Romine went 2-5 to raise his average to .324. This is easily the deepest roster I can remember since 2010, when they had some guys named Nunez and Cervelli playing for them as backups. Whatever happened to those guys?
Next up: The Yanks look to take the series on Sunday with a 1:35 ET start pitting the wunderkind Jordan Montgomery against former Severino v.0, Ivan Nova.