New York Yankees 5 — Tampa Bay Rays 1 (12 Innings)
On Easter Sunday, the Yankees took 12 innings to decide a pitcher’s duel in Tampa Bay.
After two ugly losses, the Yankees didn’t know what to expect from the spot start of Vidal Nuno. All they knew was that he worked fastand threw strikes. Through the first three innings, Nuno was cruising. He allowed one baserunner on a first-inning walk but a double play erased that. He would get into a difficult spot in the fourth inning when a pair of base hits put runners on second and third with no one out. Nuno would maintain his composure and struck out Evan Longoria and got a fly out to end the inning.
Over five innings, Vidal Nuno gave up three hits while walking two and striking out six without allowing a run. It took him 69 pitches to get through five.
On the other side, the Yankees would threaten scoring in the first three innings but could not plate the first run of the game against spot starter Cesar Ramos. In the fourth inning, Alfonso Soriano hit a double against the shift to give the Yankees runners in scoring position with no outs. After a fly out advanced Soriano to third and a line out with the infield in kept Soriano on third, Gardner would come through but not without some confusion and controversy.
Brett Gardner hit a fly ball to deep right field that initially looked like a fly out on a great play by outfielder Wil Myers. Replays would indicate that the ball actually deflected off the screen above the wall and then landed into Myers’ glove. On the play, Brett Gardner would keep running and despite Myers indicating that he caught it, Gardner came around to score. The umpires determined that Gardner would only have reached second base despite Gardner ran around the bases. On the positive side, Soriano did come around to score to give the Yankees a lead.
With today’s game being a bullpen game, David Phelps took over in the sixth inning. Phelps would get all four of his batters out before handing the game over to lefty Matt Thornton. The left-handed bat, James Loney would hit a single and a difficult error on Brian Roberts when determining transfer from glove to hand allowed Brandon Guyer to reach to put two on with one out. Adam Warren would come in to help piece the inning together. Yunel Escobar would hit a single to load the bases and pinch-hitter Matt Joyce would tie the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Shawn Kelley would keep the Rays off the board with two hitless innings featuring two walks and four consecutive strikeouts to bring on extra innings, for the first time this season.
The Yankees would have 14 consecutive batters retired since the sixth inning single by Yangervis Solarte. Derek Jeter would hit a single and be pinch-run for with Ichiro Suzuki. After Beltran struck out looking, Ichiro would attempt to steal second with Alfonso Soriano up. The initial call was safe but review would overturn the call and he would be called out. The inning would go scoreless and Dean Anna would take over at shortstop.
When you enter the game, the ball just finds you. Unfortunately for Dean Anna, it found the side of his glove and he was charged with an 11th inning error. The team would pick him up with a great throw by Brian McCann to get the runner and extended the game to the 12th inning.
Against Heath Bell, Solarte started the inning with a walk. Brett Gardner would reach on a force at second and then a controversial decision by third base coach Rob Thomson took place. Brian McCann hit a single to deep left center field that took a while to get back to the infield. Brett Gardner with his great speed hustled around second and came around third before Thomson held him up to put runners on the corners with two outs. The outfield was playing deep so the thought was that Gardner could have scored on the single.
Boy, Thomson would be the scapegoat if the Yankees didn’t score here. Thank you to Dean Anna. After a intentional walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, Dean Anna would come up with the bases loaded against C.J. Riefenhauser. In an eight-pitch battle, Anna would take a slider out of the zone with a successful check swing to bring in the go-ahead run on a walk. Josh Lueke would come in for the Rays but Carlos Beltran provided some insurance runs with a two-run single to center field. Alfonso Soriano would bring in the fourth run of the inning as the Yankees went on to split the series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Mark Teixeira made his return to the team after being on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He went 2-for-6 at the plate and committed his third error in five games in the field. Today also saw the season debut of Preston Claiborne who pitched two scoreless innings and got the win.
Win – Preston Claiborne (1-0)
Loss – Heath Bell (0-1)
*Dean Anna – Go-ahead walk in the 12th inning, RBI (3)
*Carlos Beltran – 2 for 6, 2 RBI (11)
*James Loney – 2 for 4, R, BB
*Yunel Escobar – 2 for 5, 2B
Current Yankees Record: 11-8
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