Ibanez hits half the homers as Hamilton, enough for Yankees to beat Rays 5-3
Josh Hamilton went ballistic with four home runs against the Baltimore Orioles last night, overshadowing Raul Ibanez‘s two homers which lifted the New York Yankees to a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ibanez’s second homer was actually the difference in this game, a seventh inning shot off the right field foul pole. The Yankees win was the fourth of the season for Ivan Nova, who pitched seven solid innings of two-run ball. He allowed six hits (two HR) and two walks while striking out eight. Rafael Soriano allowed one run in the eighth and David Robertson brought his Houdini act to the ninth inning and survived a bases-loaded jam to notch his first save since Mariano Rivera tore his ACL and meniscus.
Ibanez got the Yankees on the board first with a two-run two-out homer with Nick Swisher aboard. The Yanks went up 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Curtis Granderson launched his tenth home run of the season.
The Rays finally got to Nova in the sixth on a solo home run by former Yankee Jose Molina. The Rays inched even closer in the seventh on the fourth home run of the game, a solo shot off the bat of Luke Scott. Nova escaped further damage by striking Molina out with runners at second and third.
After Ibanez led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive homer off the right field foul pole to give the Yanks a 4-2 lead, the new look eighth and ninth inning tandem took over. It was an adventure.
Soriano started the eighth by allowing a triple to Ben Zobrist. He bounced back by striking out Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton. With Matt Joyce at the plate Soriano uncorked a wild pitch scoring Zobrist. Joyce eventually walked but Soriano was able to strike out Scott looking to end the inning.
In the Yankees half of the eighth, Alex Rodriguez lined a single to center that scooted by Upton allowing Rodriguez to get to second base. With one out, Mark Teixeira doubled driving in Rodriguez giving the Yanks an insurance run.
Robertson had a two-run lead to work with as he took the mound in his first save appearance of the season since Rivera went down last Thursday shagging flies during batting practice in Kansas City. Robertson is not usually the type to get three straight outs and last night was no different.
Robertson issued a one-out walk to Will Rhymes and then a single to Sean Rodriguez. Robertson erased pinch-hitter Brendon Allen with three straight fastballs for the second out. But then walked Zobrist to load the bases.. The next batter was Carlos Pena and Robertson had his way with him. He threw an 80-mph curve, then a 93-mph cutter to get ahead 0-2. He wasted the next two pitches and froze Pena with a 94-mph fastball on the outside corner to seal the victory.
- Andy Pettitte will make his MLB return on Sunday versus the Mariners according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
- GM Brian Cashman stated yesterday that the Yankees expect Rivera to be ready for the 2013 season.
- Cashman also stipulated that he was content with the Yankees’ depth in the bullpen and was not seeking help through trades at the moment.
Rookie David Phelps makes his second start since Freddy Garcia was demoted to the bullpen. The Rays will march out Jeff Niemann.
Phelps is going to have to be sharp in this one. Besides Jeter and Cano (4-for-13), the Yankees do not have great histories against Niemann.
As you get used to the way I’ll run and write for Yanks Go Yard, the daily recaps will either finish with a short commentary section, MY TWO CENTS (as it did yesterday) or with an EDITORIAL NOTE (like today) which is a tease for a full opinion piece later in the day. So, check back later when I answer the question of whether Robertson’s tightrope gets thinner as he pitches the ninth inning.
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