(Guess all the Yanks needed to get a win was another former All Star. Courtesy of The AP)
Yesterday morning the headlines were dominated by the Yankees' getting swept out of Oakland and what it could mean (cue the scary music). By the time yesterday evening rolled around, that all got pushed way onto the back burner to make room for the announcement of the Yankees trading for Ichiro Suzuki. That story only got bigger as Ichiro sat down for a pregame press conference, was put on New York's active roster, and started the game in right field for the Bombers last night in Seattle. Whether the Ichiro news served as a distraction in the clubhouse to get the Yankees' focus away from the Oakland sweep is unknown. What is known is that they came out last night and got back in the W column.
- The Yanks put a runner on in each of the first 2 innings only to have them erased by inning-ending double play balls off the bats of Alex Rodriguez and Raul Ibanez. I still don't understand how Kevin Millwood does it against these guys.
- New York starter Hiroki Kuroda worked around his own trouble in the 1nd inning after an A-Rod throwing error (been a couple of those lately) put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, but seemed to have his offspeed stuff working again.
- Seattle decided to run on Kuroda in the bottom of the 3rd and got a run because of it on a John Jaso groundball. Seattle stole 2 bases off of Kuroda in the inning, but would only get the 1 as a strikeout of The Jesus ended the threat.
- The lineup finally solved the Millwood riddle in the top of the 4th. A pair of doubles by A-Rod and Mark Teixeira sandwiched around a Robinson Cano walk scored 1 run, and follow-up RBI singles by Ibanez and Andruw Jones gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead that they would not surrender.
- Kuroda was absolutely filthy after getting the lead. He faced the minimum from the 4th inning through the 7th and recorded all 12 of his outs on the infield (6 groundouts, 6 Ks).
- Attempting to further make up for his earlier defensive gaffe, A-Rod hit a solo shot to left center in the 8th for an insurance run. It was on a ball a little bit down in the strike zone, so it was good to see A-Rod go and get it and hit it with power.
- No fooling around for Joe. He went to D-Rob and Sour Puss to finish it off and they sat the sides down in order in the 8th and 9th, although Robertson had a scare when he slipped and rolled his ankle on his second-to-last pitch of the inning. No hangover for Soriano from his blown save the other night.
- Final line on Ichiro in his Yankee debut: 1-4, 1 SB, 2 LOB. He singled and stole second in the 3rd inning in his first career Yankee at-bat and got a much-deserved ovation from the Seattle crowd.
- Kuroda: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, W. And Hiroki reaches the 10-win club! Another masterful job by Kuroda last night. He had his sinker and slider working well again down in the zone, and outside of the little hiccup in the 3rd inning there was nothing the Seattle hitters could do with him. He only recorded 2 outs in the air, and continues to quietly be the most consistent pitcher in the Yankee rotation.
- A-Rod: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. Feels like it's been a while since I've had The Horse in this section, and even longer since he's had a day this powerful at the plate.
- Teix: 3-4, 2 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. Teix's BA, OPS, and wOBA continue to inch their way up.
- Curtis Granderson: 0-4, 3 K, 2 LOB. Oof! At least it didn't cost the Yankees' anything last night. C-Grand was mystified by the Millwood magic.
Second game of the series is tonight, and I bet we see Ichiro in right again with Swish on the shelf at least until this weekend. Another interesting pitching matchup for Freddy Garcia as he faces off against perennial Yankee fan trade wet dream and former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.