By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, May 2- Astute base running by Lyle Overbay in the sixth inning led to a 5-4 victory by the Yankees on Wednesday night. The win gave the Yankees the three-game series win over the new American League entry, the Houston Astros. The victory was the sixth for the New Yorkers in their last seven contests.
Both starting pitchers, David Phelps of the Yanks and Eric Bedard gave up four earned runs in their relatively brief stints on the mound. Neither pitcher was involved in the decision.
The Astros were held scoreless in eight of the nine frames. They erupted for four tallies in the fourth inning. Four hits and two hit batsmen accounted for Houston’s run output.
The Yanks scored their runs in four separate installments. Ichiro Suzuki led off the first with a triple. He scored the first run of the contest after Jayson Nix singled to left.
In the second, three bases on balls followed by a sacrifice fly by catcher Chris Stewart scored the second Yankees run.
Two four baggers by the Yankees in the third gave New York a 4-0 advantage. Robinson Cano led off the inning with a solo homer to right. The long ball was his 185th, tying him with Paul O’Neill for 17th place on the Yankees. The run batted in was his 733rd as a Yankee, giving him 20th place in the history of the club.
With two out in the same inning, Ben Francisco’s home run was his first homer and first run batted in as a Yankee. Manager Joe Girardi said, “A walk and a home run. I hope that sets him off.”
The deciding run of the game came in the bottom of the sixth. With one out and men on first and second, Ichiro hit an infield ground ball. Although it resulted in a double play, Eduardo Nunez scored thanks to wise base running by Lyle Overbay. His intelligence in delaying the rundown allowed the winning run to score.
After the contest concluded, Girardi commented on Overbay’s performance, “It takes a heads-up player, very smart. I give Lyle a lot of credit.”
Yankee relievers Boone Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera pitched 3.1 scoreless innings. Rivera earned his 11th save of the season in 11 opportunities. His raised his MLB career mark to 619 saves.
Infielder Chris Nelson was acquired by the Yanks from Colorado in exchange for cash or a player to be named later.
On Friday, Oakland will come to the Bronx for a three game weekend series. CC Sabathia (4-2) will start for the Yanks on Friday versus A.J.Griffin (2-2) for Oakland.
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