Big day for the Yankees’ ‘Replacements’

“The Replacements” on the Yankees had a big day Monday. After being stymied, 1-0, in the first game of a makeup doubleheader at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, the Yankees stormed to a 7-0 victory in the second game with many major contributors being players who might not have been in the team’s picture for 2013 at all if not for all the injuries that have beset them.

Considering how hit the Indians have been lately (15-2 since April 28 after winning the opener), a split was a positive for the Yankees, particularly the way it played out considering that their best player, Robinson Cano, had only 1-for-9 with three strikeouts in the twin bill.

Rookie lefthander Vidal Nuno got the victory in his first major-league start with five innings of three-hit, three-walk, three-strikeout pitching to extend his scoreless streak since being called up from Scranton last week to eight innings. Nuno was originally signed by the Indians but was eventually released and pitched in an independent league before the Yankees gave him a second chance.

Another rookie, righthander Adam Warren, followed Nuno with three shutout innings to earn his first major-league save at the end of the trip during which he also picked up his first big-league victory.

Several of Nuno’s former Triple A teammates helped him get that ‘W.’ Infielder Corban Joseph, who was called up as the 26th-man as allowed for doubleheaders, played first base in the opener and second base in the nightcap. He got his first major-league hit, a leadoff double in the seventh that started a six-run rally.

Backup catcher Austin Romine picked up his first hit of the season, a double that scored Joseph. Jayson Nix, who has been pushed into a starter’s role in the infield with the injuries to Kevin Youkilis and Eduardo Nunez, drove in a run with one of his two hits in the game. Vernon Wells continued his hot trip with an RBI single, and Lyle Overbay plated two more runs with a double. Wells and Overbay were spring-training pickups to help offset the injuries to Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. On the trip in which the Yankees won six of eight games, Wells hit .345 with four home runs and nine RBI in 30 at-bats and Overbay had two doubles, a homer and seven RBI in 28 at-bats.

Utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez, recently acquired from the Cubs, played all 18 innings at shortstop and had 2-for-6 at the plate. Between games, the Yankees optioned Brennan Boesch to Scranton. Boesch had one of the Yankees’ four hits in the first game. The move was made so the Yankees could bring up another pitcher, Brett Marshall, but it could also signal that Granderson is close to being activated.

Justin Masterson was masterful for the Indians in his four-hit shutout with three walks and nine strikeouts in the first game. The Yankees did little against the righthander’s hard sinking fastball that produced 11 groundouts and three other outs in the infield. Boesch’s hit was the only one for the Yankees that reached the outfield. Chris Nelson and Chris Stewart each had an infield single, and Brett Gardner bunted for a hit.

There were some positives for the Yankees in the opener. David Phelps, who has been in the rotation while Ivan Nova is on the disabled list, gave up a first-inning home run to Jason Kipnis and despite wildness (five walks) pitched into the seventh and gave up only three other hits and struck out seven batters. It was a tough loss, but Phelps did a good job in keeping the team in the game and giving manager Joe Girardi length on a day when the bullpen could have been taxed.

Mariano Rivera, who had four saves on the trip, did not have to do anything Monday except to receive a gift before the doubleheader. Even though the Indians had already honored Mo when the Yankees played in Cleveland in April, Tribe president Mark Shapiro presented Rivera with a gold record of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” from the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: