(Brendan Ryan, rally starter. Courtesy of the AP)
I don't know how they keep doing it, but they keep doing it. With 2 crummy starters pitching 3 innings each, a blown lead in the 8th by one of the most reliable relievers in the business, and a 9th inning rally created by the worst hitter in the lineup, the Yankees took their third straight from the rival Orioles to stay just 1 game back in the race for the second Wild Card spot.
- The Yankees couldn't make anything out of 2 2-out hits in the 1st inning, so they decided to follow up with 2 hits to start the 2nd. The second one of those was a Mark Reynolds HR and Phil Hughes had a 2-0 lead with which to work.
- That lead doubled in the top of the 3rd when they decided to slow play Wei-Yin Chen. A pair of walks sandwiched around an Alfonso Soriano double loaded the bases with nobody out, and a Vernon Wells single brought 2 home to make it 4-0.
- Hughes actually did a decent job holding that lead through 3 innings. He worked around a few hits, gave up a run in the bottom of the 3rd, and ended that inning by striking out Chris Davis. That wasn't enough to stop Joe from yanking him after a leadoff error in the 4th to play matchups with David Huff. That's not a short leash, that's a gimp suit.
- And when it works out the way it did, Joe looks like a genius. Huff finished the 4th without further hazard and tossed in 2 more 1-run innings to boot. Joe split the start up between his 2 half-starters and got 6 innings of 2-run ball. That'll work.
- Curtis Granderson tacked on an insurance homer in the 7th and it was a good thing too because the bullpen broke down. Huff's run came on a homer to Nick Markakis (can't happen), and David Robertson gave up 2 singles and a 3-run dagger to Danny Valencia in the 8th (definitely can't happen) to tie the game heading into the final inning.
- Despite the strange decision to sac bunt with C-Grand, the Yankees got the go-ahead run from an improbable Brendan Ryan leadoff hit thanks to another fortunate wild pitch in the top half of the 9th. Mo went 1-2-3 in the bottom and the Yankees had a HYOOOOOOGE win.
- Reynolds: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, 2 LOB. The complete Mark Reynolds experience.
- Phavid Huffughes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. 2 solid 3-inning outings from the new tag team 5th starter in the rotation. Brilliant move by Joe.
- D-Rob: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. You don't expect D-Rob to have outings like that, and you definitely don't expect him to give it all up with 2 outs.
Yanks finish up this 11-game spring with a weekend series back in Baaahhhhston. Hiroki Kuroda and John Lackey square off in the first game tonight.