Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yankees Outlast Bucs 11-9

Well, so much for the strong pitching. The Bucs and Bronx Bombers combined for 20 runs at McKechnie today, with the Evil Empire holding off the Pirates by an 11-9 count.

Phil Irwin gave up a line drive single to Eduardo Nunez, followed by an infield knock by Brennan Boesch. A double steal produced a run when Russell Martin's throw went into center; two more plated when the third hitter, Kevin Youkilis, went deep. Another scored in the second with two down - Nunez bunted for a hit, was singled to third and came in on Youkilis' double to make it 4-0. The Bucs tried to answer when Pedro led off with a double, but he was tossed out trying to stretch it after the relay missed the cut-off. C Chris Stewart backed the play and gunned El Toro at third.

The third was the killer frame. Irwin walked two of the first three hitters he faced, and was replaced by Mike Zagurski. He walked the next guy and then Melky Mesa banged a grand salami to make it 8-0. Zag got through the fourth OK, then the Buc bats woke up.

Martin walked, and an out later Pedro doubled him home. Jones got plunked by a pitch and Gaby Sanchez singled in a run. Travis Snider cranked out a sac fly, and it was 8-3. Jeff Locke tossed a 1-2-3 fifth, and the Pirates shaved a run off the lead thanks to a Clint Barmes homer. That was the last frame for Ivan Nova, who went five and scattered six hits.

The Yankees got a gift run in the sixth. Mesa reached on a Pedro error and went to third on a 4-3; we didn't listen to the game, but assume he was running on the pitch. He trotted home on a Boesch sac fly. The Bucs got that run back with two away in the seventh. Felix Pie walked with two outs, stole second and scored on Lucas May's flare single.

Locke was nicked for another cheap run in the eighth, partially of his own making.  He walked Thomas Neal who stole second. He came in when he tagged to third on a fly to right, followed by a passed ball. Locke went four frames, giving up two unearned runs on no hits, a walk and beaned batter with two K. Pittsburgh gave up another easy run in the ninth. Jared Hughes wild pitched Jose Pirela to second with two outs and he tallied on an Addison Maruszak double to make it 11-5.

Pittsurgh rallied gamely in their last at-bat. The Bucs banged five consecutive knocks off of Matt Tracy - singles by Ivan DeJesus, Jordy Mercer, Felix Pie and Lucas May capped by an Alex Presley two bagger. Chase Whitley came on to quell the fire, and the Yankees came away with an 11-9 victory.

The Pirates walked five batters; four scored. They committed two errors, and they both led to runs. There are two weeks to go before the season; Pittsburgh needs to tighten up in a hurry. There is enough time, but it's worrisome that the games so often look like the movie Groundhog Day with the same mistakes being made over and over.

It may well be a consequence of having so many guys in a long camp and trying to get them all innings. If that's the case, the FO had best work on paring the roster and getting the guys ready.

James McDonald faces the Red Sox at McKechnie Field tomorrow afternoon.

  • That emphasis on holding runners doesn't look like it's sunk in yet. The Yankees stole 4-of-5 bases today, three off Martin (who also had the throw-out) and one off May.
  • Russell Martin thinks his old teammates might have stealing signs; guess they might as well get a jump on the season.
  • Tony Watson tossed 23 pitches in an inning during a minor league game. He wasn't sharp, as may be expected after a three-week layoff, but said he felt no pain.
  • Wandy Rodriguez is back in camp. Because of WBC rest rules, he's not eligible for the final elimination round. Jason Grilli, recently back from the Italian club, will pitch tomorrow. It will be his first outing since March 7th.
  • McKechnie Field had a record crowd of 8,541 for the game.

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