Hey, a win! How about that? In a stunning turn of events, the Yankees managed to score more runs than their opponent for the first time in 7 games last night. They scored a lot more runs than their opponent in fact, turning the tables and shutting out the Orioles thanks to a stellar performance by CC Sabathia and big offensive contributions from Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. Sabathia didn't turn back to the clock to his prime and fire a bunch of heaters past the Baltimore hitters. He actually walked the figurative tightrope for most of the evening. Baltimore put at least one runner on base in each of the first 5 innings, including 2 in the 3rd and 4th. Sabathia avoided trouble by inducing inning-ending double plays in both innings and also worked around runners on the corners with 1 out in the 5th by striking out Joey Rickard and getting Manny Machado to line out to center field. This wasn't vintage CC so much as it was the type of evolved, lower velocity CC we've been waiting for years to see. He located his fastball well, he used his changeup marvelously, and he kept the Baltimore lineup off balance all night. He even through in another inning-ending double play in the 6th for good measure.
For a while it looked like it was going to be a wasted outing for CC. The lineup stumbled out of the gate when Ellsbury led off the game with a double, moved to third base, and then got thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball to first base. They were swinging early against starter Tyler Wilson and beating a lot of balls into the ground. But they finally struck gold in the top of the 6th when Ellsbury singled and stole second with 1 out then moved to third on Brett Gardner's single. Carlos Beltran brought home the first run with a sac fly, and after a Mark Teixeira walk the Yanks tacked on 2 more on a Brian McCann base hit and a throwing error by Wilson. It took a while, but the cushion was established.
Once it was, the Bombers didn't take long to build on it. They put up 4 more runs in the top of the 8th on pairs of singles, doubles, walks, and a hit by pitch. McCann's 2-run double was the biggest blow and the 7-run lead was more than enough to preserve CC's win.
Not that there wasn't a tiny bit of drama in that preservation. Joe went with Kirby Yates in the bottom of the 8th in an attempt to rest his bullpen aces. Yates responded by loading the bases on 2 walks and a double after striking out the first batter of the inning, and in a semi-panic move Joe went to Dellin Betances to put out the fire. Betances did just that by freezing Chris Davis with 3 straight curveballs and inducing a harmless pop out to end the inning. Was he needed there? Probably not. Do I blame Joe for going to him given the 6-game losing streak and the way his club had been playing coming into last night? Absolutely not.
- 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K for CC, and he did it on 99 pitches. Effective, efficient, it was everything we've ever wanted from diminished CC. He even got 14 swings and misses, so once again here's our reminder that the old guy isn't completely shot yet. It'd be great if this start could be the start of a long string of good outings. The Yankees desperately need some more consistency in the rotation to go with Tanaka.
- Huge night for Ellsbury. On base all 5 times he came to the plate with 3 hits and 2 walks, scored a run, stole a base. He was right in the middle of the action all night, just the way you expect your leadoff hitter to be.
- 2-5 night for Big Mac with 3 RBI. And a sneaky good night for Teix. He got a hit, drew 3 walks, and scored 2 runs. He seems to be seeing the ball really well lately. Hopefully that translates into him hitting a few of them over the outfield wall.
- Still no multi-baggers for the Head Man, but he did get a hit last night. Progress!
- Shout out to Chasen Shreve for his scoreless 9th inning. He's been scuffling lately too, so great to see him and Betances have good outings on the same night. Them getting back to their usual form as Chapman returns would really strengthen the 'pen.