The Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1 on Thursday night as Michael Pineda’s six near flawless innings led to a win in their first of 19 games against Boston. In Pineda’s rookie season with the Seattle Mariners he was an All-Star, and if he keeps pitching the way he has in his first two starts, he could be an All-Star this season as well.
In 6+ innings (he pitched to one batter in the seventh while not recording an out), Pineda had seven strikeouts, only two walks, four hits and a homer to right fielder Daniel Nava. He threw 94 pitches and an impressive 63 of those were strikes. David Oritz hit a double to deep center in the fifth with two outs but Pineda was able to get out the dangerous Mike Napoli to end the inning and prevent a run from scoring.
The issue concerning Pineda during the game was that TV commentators said that there was allegedly pine tar on his hand during the third inning. The Red Sox apparently didn’t think so because they never sent anyone to protest or argue. After the game, Pineda said that it was dirt on his hand. “Between the innings, I’m sweating too much on my hand. I’m putting dirt on it,” Pineda said. This should not be a controversy since neither the umpires nor the Red Sox made a big deal of it.
It was obvious that the fans appreciated Pineda’s pitching because he received a long and loud standing ovation once Joe Girardi took him out of the game. He will be an important pitcher in their rotation and could give the team a No. 2 quality starter at the back of their rotation. Pineda is in his first year actually playing on the team since after being acquired after the 2011 season for Jesus Montero, he was injured for the next two seasons as a result of tendinitis in his right shoulder and an anterior labral tear in the same shoulder.
Dean Anna, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, who are all in their firsts seasons playing for the Yankees, all stepped up on offense. Ellsbury reached first to leadoff the fourth since his speed caused Jonathan Harrera’s error at third. Beltran then singled to advance Ellsbury to second. McCann’s single to right scored Ellsbury for the first run of the game. The second run was scored after Beltran scored on Soriano’s double play. Luckily, this double play did not come back to hurt the team.
The Yankees added two more runs in the fifth inning. Dean Anna, who was acquired as a minor league free agent in the offseason after hitting .331 in the Pacific Coast League, hit an unexpected deep homer to right field. This was the first major league home run for the 27-year-old infielder. The double that Derek Jeter hit two batters later was his 3,325th hit of his career. He needs 94 hits to catch Carl Yastrzemski for eighth place. Ellsbury, who was playing his first game against his former team, hit a single that scored Jeter for the team’s fourth run.
The bullpen, which didn’t perform well in the loss to the Orioles on Wednesday, pitched three innings while not allowing a hit. Cesar Cabral, who was called up to replace David Robertson, struck out the only two batters that he faced. David Phelps, who pitched the final 2.1 innings, recorded the first save of more than two innings in many years.
It was a positive sign that Pineda pitched well in his Yankee Stadium debut because some pitchers have under performed pitching in the Bronx for the first time. It is also an improvement that the team only left two runners on base.
There were surprisingly many fans who left this Yankees vs. Red Sox game early. This likely will not happen as much once the weather gets warmer.
The Yankees will try to make it a two-game winning streak when they play the Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. on Friday. CC Sabathia, who pitched better in his second start than his Opening Day one, will pitch for the Yankees, and Jon Lester will get the start for the Red Sox. The Yankees will try and produce more offense than normal against Lester since the last two times they have faced him Lester has pitched eight innings.