Results tagged ‘ Jake Arietta ’
It is far too early in the season to say that the Yankees’ 6-5, 10-inning victory over the Orioles Thursday night was big. But you know what? It was big.
Not that anyone was convinced that Baltimore’s 6-1 run out of the game had turned the Birds into contenders in the American League East, but the Yankees reminded the Orioles in the rain-abbreviated, two-game series at Yankee Stadium that first place can be difficult to occupy for any length of time.
Make no mistake; nobody really pays attention to the standings with any seriousness until June, but games like these are how a team gets to June. A third straight weak start by Phil Hughes put the Yankees in a 5-0 ditch in the fifth inning. There was no misinterpreting that the sound made by the crowd as Hughes walked off the mound were boos, not “Hooos.”
Bartolo Colon deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Yankees in the game with three scoreless innings, and Joba Chamberlain tacked on 1 2/3 more zeroes, plus a dandy, plate-blocking move on pinch runner Felix Pie for a huge out in the eighth that cut off an insurance run which would have meant Jorge Posada’s leadoff home run in the ninth could not tie the score. Instead, it did.
For all the solid relief work that included a tidy ninth by winning pitcher Mariano Rivera, at the center of this comeback was Alex Rodriguez in what was a perfect night at the plate with three hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly. At a time when hitters all over the Yankees are still trying to find their strides, A-Rod is already in mid-season form.
Rodriguez began the comeback with a leadoff double in the fifth. He scored on another double by Robinson Cano, but the Yanks wasted the opportunity for a big inning with three quick outs. They pushed across two more runs in the sixth, the last inning for Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, on a double by Mark Teixeria and a sac fly by – yep – A-Rod. With the way Colon was throwing, 5-3 in the sixth was not a bad place for the Yankees to be.
Curtis Granderson missed a game-tying, two-run home run by inches, but the double made it a one-run game that had to have the Orioles sweating. A terrific scoop at first base by Derrek Lee saved a run for Baltimore.
Rodriguez singled with two down in the eighth, but the Yankees came away empty. Posada’s bomb off Orioles closer Kevin Gregg evened matters and gave Rodriguez another chance to make a significant contribution, which he did with a well-struck double to left that pushed Texieria, who walked leading off the inning, to third base.
Not wanting to give lefthander Michael Gonzalez too slim a margin for error, Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided against the book move in that situation of loading the bases to create a force at each. One thing we know about Showalter is that he does not always bow to convention.
Gonzalez pitched to the lefty-swinging Cano and retired him on a liner to short. Despite switch-hitter Nick Swisher at bat from the right side, Showalter again refused to put up four fingers. But Swisher made good contact and flied out to right, deep enough for Teixeira to trot home against the strong arm of Nick Markakis.
Fans were treated to the first pie in the face of the season as A.J. Burnett targeted Swisher. The crowd ate it up. The Yankees had stolen a game. Yes, it is early, but, yes, this was big.
Perhaps it would have been better if Alex Rodriguez had not tried to play Thursday night. You can’t fault Yankees manager Joe Girardi because it is always a good feeling to write A-Rod’s name in the fourth spot of any lineup card.
Yet in coming out of the game before even coming to bat, Rodriguez left the Yankees with a utility infielder as their cleanup hitter. A-Rod admitted after the game that he felt cramping in his right groin during batting practice and that the tightness was still there 10 minutes before game time. The usually cautious Yankees decided to have A-Rod give it a try, but when he barely moved to make a play on Adam Jones’ grounder in the hole that became an RBI single, it was time for a move.
Ramiro Pena took over and was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice, the first by a Yankees cleanup hitter since Bubba Crosby in 2004 in a game that went extra innings after he had replaced Jason Giambi. Rodriguez experienced stiffness in the groin last Sunday in Toronto and came out of the game for the last inning. After a day off Monday, Rodriguez was back in the lineup Tuesday and Wednesday nights and was 2-for-10 but fielded his position without incident. Now he is headed back to New York to see what the doctors say.
The inning that A-Rod was in the field was a weird one for A.J. Burnett and essentially responsible for his first loss at Camden Yards in six career decisions. The righthander somehow made it into the seventh despite struggling with his command all night. Burnett yielded only one walk but gave up eight hits, hit two batters and crossed up catcher Chad Moeller into committing two passed balls. Actually, A.J. hit three batters in the first inning, but Nick Markakis swung at and missed the pitch for strike three that eventually hit him in the foot.
Advice to opposing teams: if you’ve got a pitcher ready for his first major-league start, throw him against the Yanks. Rookie Jake Arietta’s victory marked the fourth consecutive time the Yankees have lost to a pitcher making his big-league debut.
It didn’t receive all the attention another young pitcher’s big-league debut in the Beltway did this week, but Jake Arietta had every reason to be proud of himself Thursday night. The Orioles took a glimpse into their future by bringing up the righthander from Triple A Norfolk to make his first major-league start.
Okay, so it wasn’t Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ first pick in the 2009 first-year player draft. Arietta was the Orioles’ fifth-round choice in 2007 out of Texas Christian University. But it wasn’t the Pittsburgh Pirates the pitcher faced, either.
Arietta drew the reigning World Series champion Yankees first on his big-league dance card, and the kid did all right. It helped somewhat that Alex Rodriguez came out of the game after an inning, which made Ramiro Pena a cleanup hitter.
The Orioles gave Arietta a 2-0 lead in the first inning off a wild A.J. Burnett, who had not allowed an earned run in 16 previous innings against Baltimore. Robinson Cano got the first of four hits off Arietta, all for extra bases, with a double in the second and scored on a triple by Curtis Granderson. Arietta kept Granderson at third by getting Marcus Thames on a liner to the box.
A leadoff walk to 9-hole hitter Chad Moeller was a mistake, and Derek Jeter made the rookie pay for it with a double to tie the score. Jeter eventually scored as well to give the Yankees the lead, but Arietta held them in check after that. His final test came in the sixth when he struck out Marcus Thames with the bases loaded.
Three runs, four hits, four walks (two intentional), six strikeouts in six innings was Arietta’s final line, and after the Orioles regained the lead in the fifth he had a shot at his first big-league “W.” It wasn’t Strasburg, but it wasn’t bad. Someone go tell Bob Costas.