(That's an awesome shot. Courtesy of the AP)
Riding high off the sweep of the division-leading Blue Jay, the Yankees welcomed another divisional rival to town last night in the form of the Baltimore Orioles. The O's took 2 of 3 from the Yanks at The Stadium in early April and they're right behind them in the AL East race right now, so this was another important series for the Yanks to show they're in it for the long haul. Hiroki Kuroda got the start last night, and he's sneaky been getting better and better over the last 4-6 weeks. He had has A-game working early last night, but it wasn't until his offense came around very late in the game that this one turned into an instant classic.
- The Yankees got their 1 early run in the 1st, something they seem to do every game these days. Jacoby Ellsbury singled with 2 outs, stole second base, and scored on Mark Teixeira's double to right field.
- Hirok was absolutely brilliant in this game. He carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning, the only baserunners reaching on Derek Jeter throwing error and a walk, and had 6 strikeouts through 5.
- Then he came out for the 6th and hit the wall. Double, flyout, double, single, and suddenly it was 2-1 Orioles. Hirok managed to get out of the inning but it would end up being his last.
- The O's took and held that 2-1 lead because the Yanks could never put another run across despite having tons of chances. They loaded the bases in the 2nd and got nothing. They walked the bases loaded in the 5th and got nothing. Loaded them again in the 6th, nothing.
- Baltimore added an insurance run in the top of the 9th and all looked lost, and then the Yankees woke up for their best comeback of the year. Brett Gardner singled to lead off the bottom, Teix drew a 2-out walk, and Brian McCann hit an RBI single up the middle to make it 3-2 and set up the dramatics.
- Carlos Beltran stepped in against a smoke-throwing Zach Britton and saw 4 straight 95+ MPH fastballs, 3 of them for balls. He knew he was getting another one on 3-1 and he crushed it into the left field seats for a 3-run, game-winning, walk-off home run.
- Beltran: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB. Duh.
- Hirok: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Missed with a few pitches in the 6th and got burned by them. Had to work hard to get out of that inning, so it was the right move by Joe to not send him back out for the 7th, but the first 5 innings were probably the best he's looked all year.
- Jeter: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 LOB. The throwing errors are really starting to become ridiculous. Just make the throw, dude. Jesus.
Afternoon game today for the second matchup of this series. Vidal Nuno and Bud Norris will be the starters as the Yanks look to make it 5 wins in a row and unveil the new plaque honoring Tino Martinez in Monument Park.