The Yankees kicked off 2010 in classic 2009 style with a walk-off win in their first spring training game of the year, a 6-3 win over the visiting Pirates. It was a typically colorless spring training game. Neither team drew a walk, and the Yankees sent just three men to the plate in each of the first four innings, failing to get a ball out of the infield in those 12 at-bats. Alex Rodriguez got the first Yankee hit leading off the bottom of the fifth. Ramiro Peña and Nick Johnson got the Yankees a lead in the sixth. Jonathan Albaladejo blew that lead in the seventh, and Colin Curtis delivered the game-winning three-run homer in the ninth. Here are the details:
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
R – Marcus Thames (DH)
R – Jamie Hoffmann (RF)
L – Brett Gardner (LF)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
R – Ramiro Peña (2B)
Subs: Nick Johnson (1B), Reegie Corona (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Brandon Laird (3B), Mike Rivera (C), David Winfree (RF), Greg Golson (CF), Colin Curtis (LF), Jon Weber (DH)
Pitchers (IP): Chad Gaudin (2), Sergio Mitre (2), Alfredo Aceves (2), Jon Albaladejo (3 batters), Royce Ring (1 1/3), Jason Hirsh (2/3), Amaury Sanit (1)
Big Hits: A solo homer by Ramiro “Boom Boom” Peña off former Yankee Steven Jackson to lead off the bottom of the sixth and break the scoreless tie. An RBI double by Nick Johnson later in that inning. A three-run walk-off homer off Virgil Vazquez by Colin Curtis with one out in the bottom of the ninth. All three men went 1-for-2 in the game.
Who Pitched Well: Chad Gaudin pitched around an infield single by Andrew McCutchen and his own error for two scoreless frames including a 1-2-3 second. Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves each worked two perfect frames while striking out one. Royce Ring allowed an inherited runner to score on a groundout, but he entered with that runner on third and none out and retired all four men he faced, striking out two. Jason Hirsh struck out both men he faced. Amaury Sanit worked a perfect ninth. Those six pitchers allowed just one baserunner, McCutchen, and no runs while getting all 27 outs, seven by strikeout.
Who Didn’t: Jonathan Albaladejo started the seventh by hitting a batter on the thigh, then giving up a single and a two-run double, then got pulled.
Nice Plays: Nick Johnson made a nice, soft-handed pick at first base on a wide and low throw by Eduardo Nuñez.
Oopsies: Chad Gaudin fired a pickoff throw past Mark Teixeira in the first. Greg Golson threw wild on Erik Kratz’s RBI double in the seventh, missing two cutoff men and allowing Kratz to move to third, from where he was able to score on an groundout to first.
Ouchies: Francisco Cervelli was hit by a pitch on the meaty part of his left forearm in the third, but wasn’t injured, though is pride might have been when he tried to avenge the HBP with a steal and was thrown out. Joba Chamberlain (flu-like symptoms) threw his scheduled bullpen before the game, but looked tired and was sent home immediately after, in part to avoid his infecting his teammates, though Kevin Russo is already feeling sick. Joba is still expected to pitch in Friday’s game.
Other: It took Michael Kay less than a minute to annoy me . His narration over footage of Jeter breaking Lou Gehrig’s Yankee hit record during the YES broadcast’s opening montage included this sentence: “The record book was assaulted as milestones were etched into forever.” That’s the verbal equivalent of a Michael Bay explosion, making the similarity between two names seem like more than a coincidence. The inanity and wrong-headedness of his and, to a lesser degree, Ken Singleton’s commentary throughout the game reminded me why I started blogging. On the other hand, Jack Curry made his YES debut as a field reporter and brought some logic, wisdom, and restraint to the proceedings. I’m encouraged by his addition.
The new spring training hats worn by Pirates (the Yankees wore their regular season home duds) look really stupid, though less obnoxiously stupid than the ear-cutout caps they’ve replaced.
Curtis Granderson said he’s experimenting with contact lenses this spring, which suggests that he took his poor showing last year pretty hard.