Offense explodes in series finale to win 11-7, and take series three games to one

For the second day in a row, the Yankees’ bats showed up to help lead them to victory.  The offense exploded for 13 hits en route to an 11-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field. The offense, which has now scored 18 runs in the past two games, was a big factor in helping the Bombers take three of four from the first-place Indians. The Yankees go into the All-Star break with a .500 record (44-44), where they've been hovering all season long.
Photo Credit: Ron Schwane | AP
The offense of the Yanks, whose numbers across the board rank near the bottom of the American League, had no trouble finding offense today. They got things going in the second inning, when Starlin Castro scored on an error by Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana. With Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate, he took a 3-1 pitch that was called a strike. The call was questionable, and although Ellsbury let his disappointment in the call be known, he didn't let that call ruin his at-bat. He hammered the next offering over the wall in right-center, helping the Bombers jump out to a 4-0 lead.

After picking up another run in the fourth, the Yankees scored six in the fifth inning. They scored one on a groundout, two on an error by Francisco Lindor, a pair of sacrifice flies, and RBI singles from Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira. That made the score 11-1 before Tanaka gave those six runs right back the next inning.

While this game showcased some rare pop from the Yankees offense, there were some big struggles on the mound from Masahiro Tanaka, who failed to make it through five innings in what was unquestionably his worst road performance of the season. He labored through 4 ⅔ innings, surrendering 10 hits, two walks, and seven runs, only three of which were earned. Didi Gregorius had a throwing error with two outs in the fifth, which led to the four unearned runs. Even with the unearned runs, this was definitely not the kind of performance you want to see from your All-Star, $155 million pitcher.

Coming into his start today, Masahiro Tanaka had the lowest road ERA in the MLB at 1.14. The Yankees didn't get that version of the Japanese star today. He gave up six runs in the fifth inning today, highlighted by a two-run homer off the bat of Tyler Naquin. It was the tenth home run that Tanaka has given up this year, but just his first away from Yankee Stadium. He hasn't looked like himself the last few times he's toed the rubber so Yankees fans are hoping that it's just fatigue and that the All-Star break will give him time to recover.

Because of their long outings in yesterday’s 11 inning victory, neither Andrew Miller nor Aroldis Chapman were available for today's game. And with Dellin Betances throwing 1 ⅓ innings yesterday as well, Joe Girardi was trying to avoid using him if at all possible. Girardi opted to bring in Nathan Eovaldi in his second appearance out of the bullpen, and he was very solid out of the bullpen pitching the remaining 4 ⅓ innings of the game allowing just one hit and no runs. He earned the win.

Winning pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi (7-6, 5.18 ERA): 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K
Losing pitcher: Carlos Carrasco (5-3, 2.47 ERA): 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Notables:
Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-5, HR (4), 1 BB, 2 R, 3 RBI
Carlos Beltran: 2-5, 1 RBI
Mark Teixeira: 2-5, 1 RBI, 1 R
Austin Romine: 2-4, 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R
Carlos Santana: 2-5, 2B, 1 R
Francisco Lindor: 2-4, 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 R
Tyler Naquin: 1-4, HR (9), 2 RBI

The last few days have been an encouraging sign for the offense, and with the break coming at the worst possible time for the team, we'll see if they can carry that momentum into the second half of the season. All-around, this was far from the prettiest win for the Yankees. However, when your club is looking for a huge win to help keep pace in the playoff race, you'll take whatever you can get. At this point in the season, moral victories are meaningless; a win is a win, no matter how you get it.

The Yankees will be off from Monday-Thursday with the All-Star break. The futures game will be tonight, with the Home Run Derby tomorrow, and the All-Star game on Tuesday. The Yankees will begin the second half in the Bronx for a huge three game weekend series with the Boston Red Sox. They will shake up their starting rotation with Michael Pineda (3-8, 5.38 ERA) pitching Friday night (7:05 PM ET first pitch) followed by CC Sabathia (5-6, 3.77 ERA) on Saturday afternoon (4:05 PM ET first pitch) and Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 3.12 ERA) pitching the series finale on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball (8:05 PM ET first pitch).

Article by: Dan DeGregorio
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