The Hits Keep Coming
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, April 13-,The Yanks gained their fourth straight victory with a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles to tie the Red Sox for first place in the American League East. The two teams most commentators thought would finish the season at the bottom of the standings are currently on top.
Two strange and rare plays were most responsible for the outcome of the contest. With the score tied at two in the seventh, Francisco Cervelli, Kevin Youkilis, and Travis Hafner reached base via walks. The bases were loaded and two men were out when Vernon Wells stepped to the plate. He connected and drove the ball deep to center where Adam Jones misjudged the ball and it dropped from his glove. The three runners crossed the plate to give the Yanks a 5-2 advantage.
The Orioles began the next frame, Sabathia’s final inning, with singles by Steve Pearce and Alexi Casilla To the surprise of everyone in attendance, the line drive by the game’s lead-off batter, Nick.Markakis, ended in a 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play. Two of the Yankees infielders involved spoke humorously of the play.
Third baseman Kevin Youkils said, “That was a lot of fun. You’re not going to see another triple play turned like that. It was special.” First baseman Lyle Overbay joked, “We practiced that in Spring Training last week.”
The recipient of that fielding gem, Yanks starter CC Sabathia expressed his feelings, “Anytime you get a triple play, it fires you up. It was a great play. That’s [the play] that bailed me out.”
Interestingly, Sabathia was on the mound when the Yankee infielders achieved their most recent triple play, April 22, 2010. The Yanks previous triple play before that one occurred on June 3, 1968.
With or without that play, the Yankees starter pitched outstandingly. In eight innings on the mound, he gave up only two runs, one earned and struck out nine batters without surrendering a walk.
Youkilis led the Bombers with three hits, a run batted in and a run scored, He has hit safely in all his nine games since joining the club. The last Yankee to better that feat was Joe Buzas with 10 in 1945.
Andy Pettitte’s bad back has altered the Yankees rotation for the next two games against Baltimore. Phil Hughes will start on Saturday against Jason Hammel for the Orioles.