On a cold rainy afternoon in the Bronx, Shawn Chacon returned to the rotation to work his low BABIP magic against the Orioles. Turning in his first solid start of the season, Chacon only threw 57 percent of 111 pitches for strikes over seven innings, struck out just three and walked just as many, but somehow managed to hold the O’s to one run on four hits. That means that just four of the 22 balls in play fell for hits, a .182 BABIP.
The Yankee bats, meanwhile, plated single runs against Daniel Cabrera in the third and fourth (the first a lead-off walk by Robinson Cano, yes you read that right, that came around to score, the second a lead-off single by Alex Rodriguez that also came around to score), then broke the game open in the sixth. That inning started with a walk to Sheffield, a Rodriguez single, and Jason Giambi’s third walk in as many trips. Hideki Matsui then cracked a bases-loaded double to plate Sheff and Rodriguez and drive Cabrera from the game. After John Halama came on and got Bernie Williams to ground out, Robinson Cano drew his second walk of the game (and the season!), Kelly Stinnett popped out, and Johnny Damon reached on an infield single to Tejada at short that plated Bubba Crosby, who had come on to run for Giambi perhaps because of the weather. Eddy Rodriguez then relieved Halama and started his day by walking Derek Jeter to force in another run.
And that was the ball game. Chacon, Farnsworth and Villone combined to hold the Orioles to a pair of singles (both off Farnsworth) over the remaining three innings and the Yanks won it 6-1.
Today they hope to find another break in the rain to play the rubber game of the series. Jorge Posada will make his second start behind the plate with Randy Johnson on the mound as Johnson looks to rebound from his awful start in Toronto last time out. Bruce Chen has similar things in mind as he was absolutely lit up by the Indians in his last turn, giving up eight runs on eight hits, two of them home runs, and three walks in four innings. Last year, Chen faced Johnson in the Bronx in his first start of the year and handled the Yankees well only to have his bullpen blow the game. After that, the Yankee had his number, dropping 18 runs on him in 10 2/3 innings across their final three meetings. Here’s hoping that trend continues today.