(Zo, Zo, Zoilo! Courtesy of Getty Images)
The Yankees have been safely ahead of the Rays in the standings almost since the season started. At least up until the last few weeks when Tampa started to get it together offensively just as the Yankees started to fall apart. They entered play last night just a game and a half clear of Tampa with no offensive resurgence in sight. That didn't stop them from tinkering, as another roster move was made before the game to try to add some slightly better offense and 2 young guys (Adams and Zoilo) were given the keys to the starting lineup again. For one night at least, it worked.
- More smallball early from the Yankee offense. Brett Gardner scored on a Robinson Cano sac fly in the bottom of the 1st after a pair of leadoff walks and Ichiro drove in Austin Romine (who doubled) with a groundout in the 3rd after a Gardner sac bunt to put and keep the Yankees out front through 3.
- David Phelps was pretty good through 2 innings, and then he started to slip a bit. He lost control of his slider and got hit for a run each in the 2nd and 3rd innings.
- In a very rare turn of events, it was the offense continuing to come through to help Phelps. After Tampa tied the game again at 2 in the top of the 4th, the Yanks responded with 2 in the bottom half on a trio of singles and 2-out hit by David Adams.
- There was finally some familiar offense when somebody hit a HR in the bottom of the 6th. And wouldn't you know it, it was Zoilo Almonte who did the honors, with his third hit of the day to make it 5-2.
- About what you'd expect from Phelps. His tough middle innings upped his pitch count and he hit his limit in the 6th inning. He didn't allow any more runs though, and finished with just those 2 allowed.
- The bullpen was called on for a lot last night and they responded. 4 guys combined to go 3.1 innings, and they allowed just 1 baserunner combined with 4 strikeouts. Mariano Rivera finished things off with a 1-2-3 save.
- Zoilo: 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 LOB. It was just one night, but with the way the offense has been going it was more than enough to get Zoilo in the lineup every day for at least the next week.
- Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Boone Logan for a batter, then Shawn Kelley, David Robertson, and Mo for an inning apiece. Get this group a lead and they're going to be just fine.
- Jayson Nix: 0-3, 3 LOB. Only guy in the lineup without a hit.
2 down, 2 to go this weekend. Yanks will look to get another one this afternoon with CC Sabathia on the mound against Alex Colome.