I don’t mean to seem ungrateful, after all, the Yankees won 9-4, but did it have to take four hours?
The Yanks scored six runs off Scott Elarton before making their sixth out, driving Elarton from the game after 1 2/3 innings. Lefty reliever John Bale then walked the first three batters he faced (two of them on four pitches) to push across the one runner Elarton had left on base. That made it 7-0 after an inning and a half. When he got a chance to pitch, Chien-Ming Wang wasn’t at his best, but he didn’t need to be, and one can forgive him a lack of sharpness considering the amount of time he spent waiting for his team to stop hitting. Wang, who actually got more outs in the air than on the ground, gave up two in the second and two in the fifth and yielded to the bullpen after six innings and 98 pitches. By then the Yankees had tagged on two more runs to set the score at the eventual final. Derek Jeter had the big night going 4 for 6 with a double (though oddly he drove in no runs and scored only one), while Robinson Cano tied a career high with three walks.
In total, the Yankees put 23 men on base (13 hits, nine walks–six of them by Bale–and a hit batsman) and forced the Royals to throw 224 pitches (Elarton and Bale threw 109 pitches in a combined three innings). The only inning in which the Bombers were retired in order was the eighth (by Joel Peralta) which was the first time the Yankees had gone down in order since Al Reyes’ 1-2-3 eighth inning in Saturday’s nightcap, a streak of 24 innings with at least one base runner. Somewhere around the seventh inning I gave up and watched The Daily Show. The game was still in the eighth inning when I flipped back.
Updating Mike Carminati’s statistics, the Yankees have now scored 56 runs in their last four games, which is the second-highest four-game total since 1950 when the Red Sox scored 1,027 runs in 154 games, one of just two 1,000-run seasons since 1936 (the other being the 1999 Indians, who scored 1,009 runs in 162 games). Those 1950 Sox scored 6.67 runs per game, the fourth-best average of all time (the 1931, ’36, and ’30 Yankees being the top three). The current Yanks have now scored 5.72 runs per game on the season, which remains second in the majors to the Tigers’ 5.82.
More importantly, the Red Sox beat the Indians again, which is exactly what the Yankees want to see as they’re gaining much faster in the Wild Card race, where they’re now just 4.5 games back. If they can get within three by August 10, they’ll be in position to take the lead by beating the Tribe head-to-head.