Willie Randolph and Mel Stottlemyre, who both received plaques in Monument Park on Saturday, both wore No. 30 as a Yankee, which makes it fitting that Nathan Eovaldi (No. 30) got the start against the Tigers since he is No. 30 as well. He made them proud as he only allowed one earned run in six innings in the Yankees 14-3 win over the Detroit Tigers, which was a complete turnaround from his previous start.
Randolph was overjoyed that he got a plaque in Monument Park after growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn. “It is all about my legacy,” Randolph said. “They embraced me. I grew up in this town. Thurman Munson taught me how to be a winner. I grew up learning the Yankee way. We felt like we were part of the legacy and wanted to teach the young kids how to lead.”
Randolph was a 5-time All-Star as a Yankee (six overall), won two World Series as a player with the Bronx Bombers, four as a coach and had a .276 career average (.373 on-base percentage) with 1,239 runs scored, 2,210 hits & 271 steals. He played 13 of his 18 major-league seasons with the Yankees.
He was surprisingly fired as manager of the Mets in 2008 and pointed out in his speech that when he walks the streets, “Cabbies yell at me, “Willie, you got a raw deal with the Mets! They gave you a raw deal!”
Randolph said that he almost quit when he was in Double-A and told his mom that he wanted to come home to Brooklyn. His mom told him that she would pick him up at the train station but that she didn’t raise a quitter. This made Randolph reconsider quitting and led to him getting to the major leagues.
At the end of spring training in 1996, some in the Yankees front office were not convinced Derek Jeter could be the everyday shortstop, so they were close to trading Mariano Rivera to the Seattle Mariners for a shortstop prospect named Felix Fermin, but Randolph convinced Steinbrenner not to make this trade with the Mariners because he thought Jeter deserved a chance. Randolph obviously made the right call because the Yankees would not have had their dynasty without Rivera and Jeter.
The Yankees lived up to their Bronx Bombers nickname as they scored one or more runs in all but two innings. They slugged five home runs and tied a season-high with 14 runs. They have averaged eight runs a game during their current four-game winning streak after previously losing five of six games when they scored four runs or less in every loss.
Alex Rodriguez was 2-3 with a homer and five of the 14 RBIs and Carlos Beltran had his first multi-homer game since 6/15/2013 when he played for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In reference to A-Rod’s five RBIs, Brett Gardner said, “Our job at the top of the order is to get on base for A-Rod and he makes it seem easy.”
To leadoff the scoring, Rodriguez, grounded into a fielder’s choice in the first to score Gardner. Didi Gregorius hit a homer to the first row in right field to lead off the second inning. That was his fourth homer of the season.
Brian McCann grounded out to first with the bases loaded to end the second after Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly scored Stephen Drew. Defensively, to lead off the sixth inning, Gregorius made an outstanding barehanded play to just barely get Jose Iglesias out at first.
Beltran hit a two-run homer into the bleachers above the DKNY sign in right center field to start the third inning. That was his sixth homer of the season and his fourth hit in his last 11 at-bats (.364). Chase Headley had an RBI single through the infield to right to drive in Chris Young in the third. Alex Rodriguez hit a deep three-run homer with two outs in the third for his 3,001st hit. That was the team’s ninth hit in the first three innings.
Beltran smashed his second homer of the game in the fourth inning to give the Yankees a 9-0 lead. The first time he hit one batting left handed and he hit this one above the US Trust sign in right while batting from the right side of the plate.
“We just need to approach it the same way we have been doing, putting good at-bats together,” Beltran said. “We are going to have streaks when we play good baseball and when we don’t, but over last four days we have been hitting and pitching well.” Beltran has hit .296 with seven homers in May in June after having a .162 average at the end of April. This proves that he has a lot left in the tank.
By the time the third inning ended, Brett Gardner, who is fourth in the AL in runs scored (49) and second in steals (15), was a homer away from cycle as he already had a single, double and a triple. He also made a great leaping catch against the wall in left center to get Yoenis Cespedes out to leadoff the fifth.
“Gardner has been really good,” Joe Girardi said. “A lot of times we score a lot of runs and he creates a lot of havoc on the bases. I wanted to pull him out of the game but because he had the opportunity (to hit for the cycle) we left him in there.”
The Yankees scored seven earned runs in 2.2 innings against Alfredo Simon as his slow pace did not work to his advantage.
Detroit, who was losing 13-3 in the eighth inning, had shortstop Josh Wilson pitch, and Young blasted a homer to right for his second RBI of the game and eighth homer of the season.
Nathan Eovaldi rebounded very well as in his previous start he became the only pitcher in Yankee history to allow nine hits and not pitch an inning. Eovaldi’s fastball, curveball and splitter were all much better than in his previous start in Miami. Eovaldi had four strikeouts, allowed a season-low three hits and retired the side in order in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings.
Brian Mitchell, who was called up from Triple-A on Friday, recorded the final nine outs and struck out Andrew Romine to end the game.
The Yankees will have the pitching advantage on Sunday afternoon as Mashiro Tanaka has a 2.49 ERA in his seven starts and Anibal Sanchez has a 4.65 ERA in his 14 starts.
Bernie Williams, who was the center fielder for the Yankees for 16 seasons, will deservedly have his No. 51 jersey retired by the Yankees tonight. He was an integral part of Yankees teams that won the World Series in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000.
He was an All-Star five times, won the Gold Glove award twice and one on Silver Slugger award. He won the batting crown with his .339 batting average in 1998, and he also scored 101 runs, hit 30 doubles, had 26 homers, drove in 97 runs, and had a career-high .575 slugging percentage. During the seven-year prime of his career (27-33), he drove in 100 or more runs five times, he had an average of .307 or better seven times, he scored 101 runs or more seven times and hit 25 or more homers five times.
According to James Smythe, Bernie “Bern Baby Bern” Williams is third on the franchise list in doubles, fifth in hits, fifth in walks, sixth in runs scored, sixth in offensive WAR, seventh in homers and seventh in RBI. He was someone who came through repeatedly under pressure and could be counted on to play everyday. He played the game the right way and had a number of clutch hits in the playoffs. He had two walk-off homers in the playoffs and his 80 RBIs in the postseason are the most of all-time.
There is a Core Fore right now, but it should really the called the “Core Five” because those four World Series championships wouldn’t have happened without Williams.
During his speech he said he wished he could be playing right now and then said maybe not. He said the 2015 version is more suited for guitar than for playing baseball. He also thanked Joe Torre for being there for him. Williams also thanked his teammates who were on the field with him for being part of the best years of his life.
He fittingly thanked the fans at the end and said that the Yankees fans are the best fans in the world. He thanked the fans for embracing him as a son as he makes his home in New York. Wiliams is happy that he is a Yankee for life. Nobody will ever wear his iconic No. 51 again.
Here is his walk-off homer against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of the ALCS in 1996: