Hey, a rally is a rally
It was not exactly a rally to write home about, but considering the conditions and circumstances the Yankees will take it. The only hard hit ball of the inning was a single by Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached base four times in the game. Still, the three runs wiped out a 3-1 deficit and sent them to their first victory of the season, 4-3.
They used a wind-blown, bloop double by pinch hitter Chris Young, the Ellsbury single, a wild pitch, an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira, two hit batters (Brett Gardner and Brian McCann) and an infield single by Chase Headley to steal the game away from the Blue Jays bullpen.
By contrast, the Yankees’ pen had another good game. Dellin Betances, charged with an unearned run in the eighth inning due to an error by Brian McCann, turned out the winning pitcher as the result of the Yanks’ three-run bottom of the eighth.
Andrew Miller was used in the closer role for his Yankees debut and pitched a perfect ninth for his first save. Manager Joe Girardi has talked about closing out games based on match-ups, and this one called for Betances in the eighth and Miller in the ninth. Another night it could be the reverse.
By the eighth inning, temperatures had dropped into the 30s with a wicked wind picking up and blowing a mist around the Stadium. The conditions were brutal and were reflected in the game with a pair of hit batters and a couple of errors. It was not picture perfect baseball.
One of the keys to the victory was Girardi using Young to bat for Didi Gregorius to start the eighth. Grigorius has a history of being vulnerable against left-handed pitching. With lefty Aaron Loup on the mound for the Blue Jays, Girardi made the call to Young. In all honesty, Young’s fly ball near the right field line likely would have been caught on a milder night, but the wind played havoc by that point in the game.
Hey, a break is a break. Give Young credit for busting it out of the box and getting in position to turn the hit into a double. Ellsbury followed with a dart to center field, and those remaining in the Yankee Stadium crowd of 31,020 began to sense it was a good idea after all to stick around.
The Yanks cut the deficit to 3-2 when Young scored from third on a wild pitch by Loup, who then hit Gardner with a fastball, a big ouch on a night like this. One out and an intentional pass later, McCann took oner off the wrist from lefthander Brett Cecil, and the game was tied. Headley put the Yankees ahead with a shot off Cecil’s glove for a single.
The rally would not qualify for any highlight film but not all have to be patterned after Murderers’ Row or the Bronx Bombers. A team that has major offensive issues a year ago took a small first step in showing its ability to dig itself out of a hole.