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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Yankees 3, Rockies 2

By Wallace Matthews



DENVER -- They might not be the Bronx Bombers anymore, but the Yankees did pretty well tonight in their latest incarnation as the Bronx Bunters. They won a 3-2 squeaker with the kind of offense not normally seen in pinstripes.

What it means: Right now, the injury-riddled Yankees might be more suited to playing the National League game, because that's the kind of game they won here tonight.

Stolen victory: As befitting the punchless lineup they sent out tonight, the Yankees won this one with two infield hits, two walks, a sacrifice bunt and a split-second hesitation by Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado, allowing Brennan Boesch to beat the throw to first and score what proved to be the winning run. The Yankees loaded the bases against Colorado closer Rafael Betancourt on an infield single by Vernon Wells, a walk to Lyle Overbay, a perfect sac bunt by Ichiro Suzuki, an intentional walk to Jayson Nix and Boesch's pinch-hit RBI single, on which Arenado made a diving stop but double-clutched on his throw, allowing Wells to score from third.

Who's on third?: How about Wells, who had never played the infield in 12 major league seasons but was forced into service when Joe Girardi hit for Chris Nelson in the ninth and had no backup with Kevin Youkilis on the DL and Eduardo Nunez nursing a sore ribcage. Incredibly, Wells handled his only chance flawlessly for the second out of the ninth inning.

Joey La Russa: Taking a page from the Tony La Russa School of Wheel Reinvention, Girardi batted his pitcher, David Phelps, eighth, and his catcher, Austin Romine, ninth. They were pretty much a wash -- Phelps and Romine both struck out in their first two at-bats -- but the strategy almost worked when Girardi sent Ben Francisco up to hit for Phelps in the seventh with the go-ahead run at third. Francisco hit it hard but right at Arenado, who juggled the hot shot but still got the out at first to end the inning.

Burnin' Vernon: The rejuvenated Wells gave the Yankees a 2-0 first-inning lead when he crushed Juan Nicasio's 3-2 fastball into the left-field seats with Brett Gardner aboard. It was Wells' seventh home run of the season, a number he didn't reach last year until Aug. 11.

Steal this: A day after his manager appeared to question his apparent reluctance to steal, Gardner took off in the first inning, stealing second during Robinson Cano's at-bat. It was Gardner's fifth steal of the season and gave him back the team lead, which he had shared for one night with Suzuki.

Few signs of life: Despite Girardi's lineup shenanigans, the Yankees still lacked a pulse at the plate. Aside from Wells (who went 3-for-4 with a HR and two RBIs) and Gardner (single and walk) the rest of the Yankees' lineup was 0-for-18 before Nelson's single with two out in the seventh.

Ichir-oops: Suzuki made a routine play on Michael Cuddyer's fly to right in the fourth inning, but dropped the ball in the exchange to his throwing hand, leading many in the crowd to think he had muffed the catch. But first base umpire Phil Cuzzi correctly called Cuddyer out.

Look out!: The Rockies sent up Troy Tulowitzki, who has missed a few games this week with a groin strain, to pinch hit in the eighth, and the first pitch he saw from David Robertson, making his first appearance in a week, sailed behind his head and caught him on the back, giving the Rockies a free baserunner. Tulo was immediately pulled for a pinch runner, who went nowhere when Robertson retired the next two hitters.

Fowl plays: The Yankees got three runners into scoring position and two of them were courtesy of Rockies CF Dexter Fowler, who allowed Wells' sixth-inning single to scoot under his glove, and booted Nelson's seventh-inning single, allowing Nelson to get to third. The Yankees could get neither runner home, however.

He must have named himself: Has there ever been a better name for a pitcher than Josh Outman?

Meet-and-greet: Before the game, Mariano Rivera did a meet-and-greet with the stadium workers, as he has at every road stop so far this year. Among the folks waiting to meet Mo and get his autograph: Rockies starter Nicasio.

Mountain dew: Coors Field was pelted by heavy rain for most of the day, and as late as an hour before game time it seemed pretty unlikely they would play tonight. But somehow, the rain let up enough for the grounds crew to uncover the infield and the game started on time at 6:42 local time.

What's next: The series finale against the Rockies, with CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.31) facing LHP Jeff Francis (1-2, 7.27). First pitch is at 3:10 p.m.