The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 on Monday in the first game of their four-game series against the Orioles. Michael Pineda’s 7.1 dominating innings helped the Yankees win their fifth game in their last six games. They are now four games out of the second wild card spot with six games to play.
It is an extreme long shot that the Yankees will pass the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, but Derek Jeter has helped the Yankees improve their play and keep the team alive right until the end.
Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka both dominated in back-to-back games, which is a great sign for the Yankees for next season. They will be a very formidable one and two in the rotation in 2015. In Pineda’s 7.1 innings, he retired 22 of the 24 batters that he faced, recorded an impressive eight strikeouts and the only hit that he allowed came in the fifth inning to J.J. Hardy. He retired the side in order in both the sixth and seventh innings and had all of his pitches working for him.
“Tonight, my slider was working pretty good, and my changeup too, everything is working good,” Pineda said. “When my release point is finished in the front, the slider has good movement, it is really good. The changeup is a really good pitch, and before I didn’t use it a lot in the games, and now I am using it more. It is really good.”
Pineda is becoming even more dangerous as a pitcher because he is developing a very good changeup to go along with his fastball and slider. He now has a 1.94 ERA in his 12 starts, which means that he has the lowest ERA in baseball out of all starters who have made 10 or more starts.
Offensively, Derek Jeter continued to hit well and drive in runs during his last home stand before he retires after Sunday’s game in Boston. Jeter was 1-3 with three RBIs and walk against Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen and Evan Meek. Since ending his 0-28 hitless streak the game before this home stand began on 9/17, Jeter has gone 10/24 (.416) with four runs scored, three doubles, one homer and six RBIs. He has raised his average from .249 to .256.
In the third inning, Jeter hit an RBI groundout to score rookie Jose Pirela to make the score 2-0. Then, in the fifth inning, he slugged a double to the wall in left to score Pirela and Brett Gardner. “This is a game of adjustments, and I am going to continue to make those adjustments until I am out of games,” Jeter said. “I don’t want to jinx anything. I feel pretty good. It is fun, I mean the fans have been energetic, that makes it fun for us to play.”
For the first run of the game, Pirela tripled to deep left center to score Ichiro Suzuki in his first career at-bat. Pirela, who had been in the minors for eight years, singled in his second at-bat and was very grateful to be playing in his first major league game. “To see my dream coming true is unbelievable for me,” Pirela said. Chase Headley hit his fifth homer with the Yankees and 12th of his season in the eighth inning.
The Yankees will look to win their third game in a row on Tuesday. Brandon McCarthy, who has a 2.54 ERA in 13 starts with the Yankees, will get the start for the home team. He has allowed four runs combined in his last three starts. Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a high 4.90 ERA, will start for the Orioles. Baltimore has already clinched the division, which means that these games don’t mean much to them.