Bird goes yard as Yankees sweep Cardinals to give them seven straight victories

Fresh off his run at perfection in the Yankees home opener last Monday, Michael Pineda once again took the mound for the Yankees on Sunday night, opposed by former Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, as the Yankees sought their second consecutive series sweep of the homestand. Led by a perfect 3-for-3 night from Greg Bird including a tape measure home run of 429 feet into the bleachers, the Yankees were able to win their seventh straight game by a score of 9-3.
Photo Credit: Steve Ryan

Pineda issued his first walk of the season to Matt Carpenter in the first, followed by a bunt single to Cardinals' cleanup hitter Stephen Piscotty, but was able to strike out Matt Adams to end the threat. This was, however, the first of a few instances of Pineda's two out struggles rearing their ugly head ahead. 

The Cardinals broke through first in the top of the second inning after a bloop single by Jedd Gyorko, a sacrifice groundout by Randal Grichuk, and then an RBI single by Cardinals second baseman Greg Garcia.  Through two innings, Pineda had allowed four hits (all singles) and a walk. 

The Yankees were able to strike right back in the bottom of the second, however. After a leadoff single up the middle by Chase Headley, Aaron Judge stroked a ball deep into right center field that initially appeared to be out of the ballpark, but after a replay review, was deemed an RBI triple to tie the game.  Greg Bird was up next carrying a 1-for-26 streak to begin the season but he unloaded on the first pitch he saw from Wainwright deep into the right field bleachers for his first home run of the season, giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead. 

After the shaky start, Pineda settled into a groove through the middle innings. Pineda's slider looked sharp and his fastball, at times, reached 97 MPH. Following the RBI single by Garcia, only two men reached base across the third, fourth and fifth innings, with one of them erased on a nice inning-ending double play started by Pineda himself. 

With the rain approaching in the bottom of the fifth, Aaron Hicks padded the Yankee lead with a solo home run right down the line in right, his third of the season. Following the Hicks home run, Starlin Castro would single, Jacoby Ellsbury would reach on a fielder's choice (Castro out at second), and Headley added another single which signaled the end of the night for Wainwright after just 4.2 innings. Matt Bowman would come on in relief to strike out Aaron Judge to end the threat. 

In the top of the seventh inning with the score still 4-1, Yadier Molina wrapped a home run down the left field line to cut the Yankees lead to 4-2. Pineda would, however, respond by striking out Jedd Gyorko, getting Randal Grichuk to weakly pop up to first and end his night by getting Greg Garcia to ground out to second.  Pineda's night was complete, giving the Yankees everything they needed. Dellin Betances would take over in the eighth. 

The Yankees would not score in the sixth or seventh innings and Dellin Betances immediately injected some drama into the game in the eighth after retiring Dexter Fowler and Aledmys Diaz to start the frame. Dellin would go on to allow a single to Matt Carpenter and follow that up by walking Stephen Piscotty to bring Matt Adams to the plate as the potential go ahead run. Betances was able to lock down, however, and strike out Adams on three pitches to end the threat and preserve the lead.

New York put the game away in the bottom of the eighth.  After loading the bases with no outs via walks to Headley and Judge and a Greg Bird single (his third hit of the night!), both Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes would hit two-run doubles to extend the lead to 8-2. The final run of the night would come via an Aaron Hicks sac fly, driving in Torreyes.  All in all, the Yankees finished with an impressive 4-for-7 with RISP. 
Photo Credit: Rick Schultz | AP

With the game no longer a save situation, Bryan Mitchell game on in the ninth.  Mitchell would allow a run in the inning, but would ultimately lock down the win for New York, the final score being 9-3.

Winning Pitcher: Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.44 ERA): 7.0 IP, 2 R (2 ER), 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR 
Losing Pitcher: Adam Wainwright (0-3, 7.34 ERA): 4.2 IP, 4 R (4 ER), 10 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR  
Notables: 
Greg Bird: 3-3, HR (1), 2 RBI, BB, 2 R 
Aaron Hicks: 2-3, HR (3), 2 RBI, BB, R 
Chase Headley: 2-2, 2 BB, 2 R 
Aaron Judge: 1-3, BB, 3B, RBI, 2 R 
Austin Romine: 2-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI, R 
Ronald Torreyes: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R
Dellin Betances: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Yadier Molina: 1-3, HR (1), RBI, R
Matt Adams: 0-4, 2K, 4 LOB 
Miguel Socolovich: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 0 K

Tomorrow the Yankees welcome in the Chicago White Sox for a three game set to finish out the first homestand of the season. First pitch will be at 7:10 PM (EST). The pitching matchup will be LHP Derek Holland vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery, as Montgomery will be making his second career start. 

Article by: Andrew Natalizio 

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