After more than an hour of rain delay, the Yankees took down the Braves with a 3-2 win in Tampa on Saturday afternoon.
As with most spring training games, the main story in today’s tilt against the Braves was the guy on the mound. Michael Pineda hadn’t given up a run yet this spring, and he came into this one looking to keep that momentum going against a historically weak Braves lineup. “Big Mike” didn’t disappoint.
While the scoreless streak came to an end with an RBI single by Blake Lalli in the top of the third, Pineda didn’t allow any other runs in his four innings of work. Only one other time was he really even stressed on the mound, and that was in the first inning. In that frame, Pineda allowed a leadoff double to Ender Inciarte, who then stole third, but Chris Denorfia made a nice play on a sinking fly ball and fired home to get Inciarte tagging to kill the rally. The next batter, Nick Swisher, hit one into the gap in right-center, but Jacoby Ellsbury covered a ton of ground and made a great diving catch to end the inning.
Pineda’s line on the day: 4 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 0 BBs and 4 Ks. He has now allowed just 1 run on 7 hits in 9 innings this spring with 7 Ks. Let’s hope he keeps it up.
The Yankees offense, meanwhile, did just enough to win again, scoring all of their runs in the bottom of the fourth. Didi Gregorius walked on four pitches to lead it off. After an Alex Rodriguez fly out, Mark Teixeira singled Didi over to second. The Ageless Carlos Beltran followed with an RBI single to right to tie the game at one, but the Yankees weren’t done. Chase Headley boomed a double over the head of the left fielder, which scored Teixeira and moved Beltran to third. Starlin Castro (gosh, he’s looked good this spring), followed with another RBI single (he now has 9 on the spring) to put the Yankees up 3-1. Castro then stole second, but the Yankees were unable to plate any more runs in the inning. However, it didn’t matter.
Joe Girardi opened up the bullpen door after that. Aroldis Chapman pitched the fifth, allowing a run on back-to-back doubles by Hector Olivera and Jace Peterson. Chasen Shreve pitched a scoreless sixth, Nick Goody a scoreless seventh, Diego Moreno a scoreless eighth, and Kirby Yates closed it out with a scoreless ninth.
There was one scary note for the Yankees offense in this game. Jacoby Ellsbury left after being hit in the hand by a Julio Teheran fastball in the bottom of the fifth. Ellsbury was pulled as a precaution, and because he was going to come out after the at bat anyway, but its still scary any time someone gets hit in the hand like that, especially Ellsbury, who’s been as fragile as a glass menagerie in his early Yankees career. Hopefully he’ll be OK with a little ice and some rest.
At least the Yankees got a win. I know the spring record training doesn’t really matter, but you also don’t want to be the team leading the league in losses, which the Yankees currently are. Anyway, let’s hope for another win tomorrow against the Twins.