Thursday, May 9, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Yankees 3, Rockies 1
By Wallace Matthews
DENVER -- The Yankees' three-day stay in the Rainy Mountains ended on a high note, a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies in a rain-delayed affair that saw six Yankees pitchers combine to four-hit the home team and Robinson Cano, who had been in a mini-slump coming into the game, busting out in a big way.
What it means: That the Yankees head into Kansas City, the second leg of this three-city, seven-day, eight-game road trip, with a series win in the bank over the Rockies.
Long, strange trip: This game started in rain and gloom and ended nearly five hours later in brilliant sunshine, bisected by a 1-hour, 59-minute rain delay, and it really felt like two different games: the one CC Sabathia and Jeff Francis started and the one the bullpens finished up. Sabathia looked good for four innings -- one run, one hit, one walk, two strikeouts -- but there was no way he was coming back. He was followed by Adam Warren, who got his first major league win, Boone Logan, Preston Claiborne, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, who picked up his 13th save in 13 chances.
Wonderful Warren: The right-hander picked up where Sabathia left off, pitching 1 2/3 innings and allowing no hits, walking two.
The Magic is back: Robertson got four huge outs, coming on with two on and two out in the seventh to strike out Todd Helton, and after walking the leadoff hitter in the eighth, shutting down the Rockies with a groundout and two more K's.
Sure-handed: RHP Preston Claiborne allowed three hits in just two thirds of an inning but managed to escape unscathed in the seventh when Cano made a terrific play to save him from throwing an easy double-play ball into center field in the seventh. Cano plucked the errant throw out of the air and turned the DP, after which Claiborne allowed two more singles, with the still-dangerous Helton coming up as a pinch hitter. But Joe Girardi brought in Robertson, who K'd Helton on a curve to end the inning and preserve the 3-1 Yankees lead. Cano also made an excellent play on a one-hop bullet hit by Troy Tulowitzki to hold a runner at second in the eighth.
Milestones: Cano's infield single in the third was the 1,500th hit of his major league career. It was also his first hit of the road trip after an 0-for-9 start. After the two-hour rain delay, Cano reached another milestone with his solo HR off Adam Ottavino in the fifth. It was the 186th of his career, all with the Yankees of course, which leapfrogged him over Paul O'Neill for 17th on the team's all-time list.
Busy binder: Girardi was flipping pages like mad today, using five pitchers in relief of Sabathia and double-switching twice. Alas, he had no chance to use Vernon Wells at third again.
O man: Rockies RHP Ottavino, a NYC product who went to high school in Brooklyn and relieved starter Francis when the game resumed in the fifth, is the only MLB player I can recall wearing the number zero.
Give him a hand: The Rockies scored their first run when Dexter Fowler slipped his hand across home plate just before Chris Stewart slapped the tag on him after Carlos Gonzalez's sac fly to short left. A good one-hop throw by Wells may have pulled Stewart toward the middle of the field, preventing him from blocking the plate.
The Daily Downpour: The start of today's game was delayed approximately eight minutes due to a brief rainstorm, which pelted Coors Field about 15 minutes before the scheduled first pitch and caused the grounds crew to hurriedly cover the field while the national anthem was being sung. This nearly resulted in a disaster when the crew just missed flattening the color guard, positioned behind second base, with the tarp roller. Luckily, the flag bearers were able to quickly relocate to right-center field.
The Daily Downpour, Part II: The rains returned after four innings, causing a nearly two-hour delay, forcing Coors security to clear the upper deck due to possible lightning strikes, and costing both teams their starting pitchers.
What's next: Flight to Kansas City, where the Yankees open a three-game series Friday night, Phil Hughes (1-2, 3.60) facing RHP Wade Davis (2-2, 4.75), first pitch at 8:10.