On Friday night, The Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins, 8-1, and didn’t get much of a fight from a fourth place team decimated by injuries. The battery of Phil Hughes and Russell Martin couldn’t have been better. Martin arguably had his best offensive game since the first month of the season.
Cano had another gold glove worthy play in the fourth to keep the score 2-1. This came after his double in the top of the inning which gave the Yankees the lead. Yankees had the lead 4-1 in the 6th off of solid pitching from Phil Hughes.
In the 6th inning Russell Martin hit a two run home run which easily left the stadium as opposed to his first one, in the third inning which sneaked over the fence. Kevin Slowey failed to hit his spots and allowed six runs in 5 and two-thirds innings. In addition eight of Martin’s 15 homers have followed a day off. This is something for Girardi to remember going down the stretch. Martin has struggled a little with his .232 average but his 15 home runs are more than the Yankees could have asked for, especially since he is a catcher.
Everything went according to plan for Hughes through six innings. He located all his pitches well, retired 14 in a row and only allowed one-hit through the first six frames. The only inning that Hughes had any trouble was in the seventh, when he walked Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel, but he got Danny Valencia to ground out to Cano with two outs. In his last three starts, Hughes impressively has an ERA of 1.37.
It was a little surprising that Girardi brought Hughes out for the eighth innings but he was pitching a one hitter so it makes some sense. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who got sent to the disabled list when Nick Swisher slid aggressively but cleanly into second during an April game, nearly had his first hit of the night but Brett Gardner was positioned perfectly and made an outstanding diving catch. That gave the Yankees two outs in the inning, and was Hughes’ 106th pitch, so Girardi wisely took him out of the game. Hughes had his longest performance by 1 inning and two-thirds and is close to being the pitcher he was the first half of last season.
After Hughes hit the showers, Boone Logan came in and got out the only batter he faced. The beginning of Logan’s season left much to be desired but ever since Alex Rodriguez took him aside and gave him some “friendly” advice on June 21st, he has pitched like a fifty reliever is supposed to.
In the bottom of the ninth, Curtis Granderson made an outstanding catch approaching the wall in left-center hit by Joe Mauer. Mauer has had an eventful series as he had to play right-field yesterday after the scheduled right-fielder, Luke Hughes, who had just got called up from AAA Rochester, missed his flight from Allentown where he was playing. He was apparently one gate away from the gate that would have put him on his plane to Minneapolis.
Granderson, proved once again that he is an all around player in this game since he had two hits, an RBI and a steal, as well as a Gold Glove caliber catch. He is an MVP candidate and a stat that proves that he is having a season to remember is that on Thursday he became the first Yankee of all time to have 10 or more triples, 30 or more homers and 20 or more steals in a season.
Teixeira achieved a milestone of his own with his three RBI on Friday becoming the sixth player in baseball history to drive in 1,000 runs in his first nine seasons. He helps the team in so many ways just like Granderson, and the only stat that leaves room for improvement is his low .252 average. Teixeira saves the infielders many errors with his glove that his able to field anything near the base, and he can be counted on to hit at least 30 home runs and drive in my than 100 runs every season.
The Yankees did not have to use any of their top three relievers since they scored two runs in the sixth and two in the ninth. The two runs in the ninth came off of a two RBI double by Teixeira, which were his 93rd and 94th RBI on the season. Luis Ayala faced the Twins during their last at bat and retired the side in order.
The offense has four players with multiple hit performances, including Derek Jeter, who is riding a hot streak with more than one hit in his last six games. In addition, there were no major defensive miscues and the three pitchers only allowed two hits in a game the Yankees dominated.
The Yankees have won the first two against the Twins, four out of their last five and the underperforming A.J. Burnett will be pitching tonight to try and record his second win in a row. The last win was a lucky one since he gave up 10 hits but can thank Joe Girardi since he took him out at the right time.
Unfortunately, Burnett is now at no risk of being taken out of the rotation until the end of August since Freddy Garcia has been put on the disabled list. Two reasons for Garcia’s DL stint include needing another start on Monday in Scranton since he had not started in two weeks, as well as cutting himself with a knife during a kitchen accident. This also allows Aaron Laffey, who was recently acquired off of waivers from the Seattle Mariners, to be called up to the team. This will give Girardi a second lefty option to use out of the bullpen.