Granderson’s Back as Yanks Come From Behind to Win
Photo by Gary Quintal
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, May 15- The Yanks returned to the Bronx on Tuesday after a successful, 6-2, road trip. Pitching was the strength of the Yankees as they held their opponents to two runs or less in seven of the eight contests. New York was shut out in its two road losses.
Pitching again was the main story on Tuesday night as former American League Cy Young award winners C.C. Sabathia (2007) and “King” Felix Hernandez (2010) hooked up for the first time. The encounter was the fourth between former Cy Young winners in the current Yankee Stadium.
As was expected, the batters did not dominate the two starters. The batter that scored the only run in the first five frames reached base on an error. With one out in the top of the third, Mariners’ center fielder Michael Saunders was safe on a miscue by first sacker Lyle Overbay. A two out double by Kyle Segar drove Saunders across the plate.
Each team scored in the sixth. Seattle catcher Kelly Shoppach led off the inning with a single. The next batter, former Yankee hero Raúl Ibañez, took an 0-1 pitch into the first row of the right field seats to score two. He averages a home run every 12.5 at bats in the current Yankee Stadium. Yankees pitchers had not allowed an earned run for 21 straight innings prior to the home run.
Robinson Cano led off the bottom of the inning with a single. A grounder to Hernandez by Curtis Granderson, playing in his first game of the season, led to a force of Cano at second. Granderson scored the first Yankees run on a double by Overbay.
Both starters left the game after the sixth. Sabathia was removed with one out in the seventh and two men on base. He gave up 10 hits, his season high, and three runs, two earned. He fanned 10, a season best. After the game, the Yankees starter commented, “I always try to keep the game close and keep us in the game. Kelley picked me up in the seventh.”
Hernandez, who appeared in discomfort during the sixth, did not return to the mound for the seventh. Seattle manager Eric Wedge discussed his reason for removing “King Felix”, “we have to be smart and can’t put him in harm’s way.” Hernandez yielded only five hits and one run. The American League leader in ERA has not surrendered more than one run in each of his last six starts.
Yankees skipper Joe Girardi was impressed by the performance of Hernandez, “He basically did what he usually does, gets guys out. He makes it really tough to score a run.”
Hernandez’s bid for a victory was spoiled by relievers Yoervis Medina and Charlie Furbish who collectively gave up three runs in the seventh. A double by Cano drove in two runs and a sacrifice fly to center by Overbay knocked in the eventual winning run. Cano passed Mickey Mantle on the team’s career list with his 345th double. He remarked, “My approach was looking for something over the plate because the last few games I was chasing.”
Closer extraordinaire Mariano Rivera converted his 16th save opportunity of the 2013 campaign by retiring the three batters he faced in the ninth inning. He has been successful in all 16 opportunities this year. The save upped his MLB career record to 624 saves.
Reliever Shawn Kelley earned the win after pitching 2/3 of an inning. In May the bullpen is 4-1 with an ERA of 0.77. The relievers have not been scored upon for the last 22.2 innings.
Phil Hughes (2-2) of New York will start game two of the series on Wednesday versus Hisashi Iwakuma (4-1) of Seattle.