2nd Straight Walk-off Win for #Yankees
By Howard Goldin
Yankee fans at the Stadium on July 3 and/or July 4 enjoyed an exciting game in which their team won the contest in their final inning at bat.
Michael Pineda helped the Yankees to their third straight victory with an outstanding pitching performance in the July 4 matinee. The right-hander surrendered a double to the final batter he faced, Curt Casali, who led off the eighth frame. Prior to that batter, Pineda had retired the previous 12 straight batters. The Dominican native gave up zero runs for the only the second time in 2015. He held the Blue Jays scoreless in eight innings on May 5.
Pineda exhibited excellent control of his pitches, walking one batter and fanning 10. It was the second game this year in which he struck out at least 10 batters. Pineda is fifth in the American League in strikeouts per nine innings (K/9IP) and is second in MLB in K/BB ratio. Only Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has a higher ratio of strikeouts to walks. Even though Pineda did not receive the win, he was pleased with the result, “I want to help my team. I’m happy today because we win. I’m focusing on the team.”
The Rays rookie starter, Nathan Karns, also pitched outstandingly in his seven inning stint. The righty equaled Pineda by only yielding five hits and fanning 10 batters, his career high. Yankee skipper Joe Girardisaid of the rookie, “He has been tough on us. He’s pitched pretty well all year long.”
The two runs off Karns came from singles by the first three Yankees batters, Brett Gardner, Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s single knocked in his career 2,015 run. The sacrifice fly by the next batter, Mark Teixeira, accounted for the second run in the frame. Teixeira leads the A.L. in RBI with 59.
Despite their excellent performances, neither starting pitcher was involved in the decision. With DellinBetances on the mound for the Yanks, “Yankee killer”James Loney led off the ninth with his second single of the game. Loney has the second highest batting average in the current Yankee Stadium, .411 (44 for 1070. Steven Souza, Jr. flowed with his 15th home run of the 2015 campaign on a 2-2 pitch to knot the score at 2. Yankee receiver John Ryan Murphy said of Betances, “Any time a man gets on base [against Betances] it’s shocking.”
The disappointment for the Yankee fans in the ballpark was short-lived as the Yankees achieved the walk-off win before one out was recorded in the bottom of the same inning. Teixeira led off the frame with a double. He was pinch run for by Jose Pirela. Ramon Flores,who was recalled by AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre o0n the previous day, bunted and Tampa pitcher Brad Boxbarber made a throwing error that gave the Yankees the winning run.
In the final game of the three game set on Sunday afternoon, Ivan Nova will make his third start of the season for the Yanks against rookie Erasmo Ramirez of the Rays.