Rapid Reaction: Yankees 6, Rays 4
September, 16, 2012
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com
What it means: The Yankees will enjoy their off-day in first place. The Rays are now five back with 16 games remaining.
Nunez leads the way: After failing to pick up a hit in the first two innings off Matt Moore, the Yankees exploded for five runs in the third. It started with Eduardo Nunez, who walked and stole second. Old reliable, Derek Jeter, singled him home. Jeter continues to be the Yankees' MVP. He moved to second on the throw home.
Besides playing a flawless short, Nunez had three steals and scored two runs.
Small ball: Following Jeter's single, Nick Swisher moved him over with a sacrifice bunt to push Jeter to third. Alex Rodriguez drove him home with a single. A-Rod has made a difference since he has comeback, extending that Yankee lineup. A-Rod is not the MVP Rodriguez, but he is still a useful player even if he is a very overpaid one.
Big Russ: Russell Martin provided the biggest shot of the third, a three-run homer to rip the game wide open. Martin, who has been OK against lefties, hit his 17th homer, which is only one less than A-Rod. Martin entered Sunday with 370 at-bats, while Rodriguez had 399 prior to first pitch.
You've been warned: Following Russell Martin's three-run homer and an Andruw Jones groundout, Moore fired a pitch right over Curtis Granderson's head. It didn't hit Granderson, but it was dangerous. Home plate ump Paul Emmel warned both dugouts. Joe Maddon took exception, yelling from the dugout, "You're wrong." Emmel didn't like this and tossed Maddon. Maddon came out to get his money's worth before eventually receding to the road manager's office.
Bartman, is that you?: The Rays put up three in the sixth to cut the lead to two runs. In loading the bases with two walks in an infield single, Kuroda had to deal with first baseman Steve Pearce dropping a popup. On the tough play near the stands, Pearce reached out to extend over a Yankee fan wearing a Nick Swisher jersey, who also attempted to catch. The fan was not totally at fault, but on a day that Moises Alou was in the Yankees' clubhouse it brought back memories. The missed catch preceded Ben Zobrist's infield single. With the bases loaded, Kuroda looked as if he might get out of it with minimal damage, but an awful hop allowed for an Evan Longoria two-run single to hop past Alex Rodriguez at third.
Seventh heaven: With two men on and a two-run lead in the seventh, David Phelps struck out Desmond Jennings looking to end the threat.
HiroKi: Of Kuroda's first nine outs, seven were strikeouts. This included the final two outs of the first after Ben Zobrist's double. Kuroda got Evan Longoria looking and Matt Joyce swinging. Kuroda only ended up having an OK start, giving up four runs on four hits in his six innings. He struck out a total of 10 and walked two.
40: Rafael Soriano picked up his 40th save.
What's next: Wally Matthews will ask if Joe Girardi will have the audacity to make Hiroki Kuroda his Game 1 ALDS starter? Matt Ehalt will have some post-game blogs. Wally and I will be doing a special Bombers Beat.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are the Rays no longer a threat?