Yankees and Rangers swap zeroes
Go figure this game. Two pitchers take the mound with identical 5.10 ERAs. Each has struggled a ton lately. The Yankees’ Chase Whitley was 1-3 with an 11.25 ERA in his previous five outings. The Rangers’ Nick Martinez, who pitched college ball at Fordham, was winless in seven starts since his only victory of the season May 24.
So what happened? Both pitched shutout ball over six innings.
It was a very positive sign for Whitley, who got solid support from his defense. Five of the seven hits he allowed were at the start of innings, usually a bad omen.
In the second inning, Leonys Martin got to third with none out on an error by third baseman Zelous Wheeler and a wild pitch, but Whitley kept the ball in the infield with two groundouts bookending a strikeout to strand Martin.
In the third, Daniel Robertson led off with a single and stole second base. After Shin-Soo Choo was called out on strikes, Robertson tried to steal third and was gunned down by Francisco Cervelli. Whitley finished off the inning by striking out Elvis Andrus.
Adrian Beltre followed Jim Adduci’s leadoff single in the fourth by grounding into a double play. In the fifth, Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, who doubled with one out, tried to score on an infield single by Robertson but was thrown out at the plate by Brian Roberts.
Whitley’s night was done after he gave up another leadoff hit in the seventh, a single by Beltre, but Matt Thornton and Adam Warren made sure the All-Star third baseman did not advance.
The Yankees had it even worse against Martinez, who held them to three hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings before Neftali Feliz, the former American League Rookie of the Year, followed with 1 2/3 hitless innings of relief. The Yanks did not get a runner past first base over the first seven innings.
Martinez, too, had helped from his defense. Martin in center field climbed the auxiliary scoreboard in right-center to rob Brian McCann of a potential extra-base hit in the second inning. The ball did not appear to be over the wall when Martin gloved it.
The zeroes kept piling up after the starters were gone. The Yanks did not get a runner into scoring position until one out in the ninth when Derek Jeter doubled into the left field corner. It was career double 535 for DJ, who replaced Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig as the franchise’s all-time leader in two-base hits.
Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to have lefthander Neal Cotts walk lefty-swinging Jacoby Ellsbury intentionally and go after Carlos Beltran, a switch hitter who would bat right-handed against Cotts. The curious strategy worked as Beltran grounded into a double play that sent the game into extra innings.