Perhaps embarrassed that they had lost two straight games to one of the worst teams in baseball, the Yankees salvaged the final game of the series this afternoon behind a powerful offense and the arm of Kenny Rogers.
Rogers threw 139 pitches in a complete game, six-hit shutout, and was backed by an offense that put up 12 runs. He walked four and struck out just one, throwing a lot of pitches early on in the game. “I wouldn’t have given you a nickel on the chances he would pitch nine innings with the number of pitches he threw those first few innings,” manager Joe Torre said. (Via NY Times)
Derek Jeter got things going in the bottom of the third with a single. He was moved to third base on a hit-and-run with Wade Boggs at the plate. Paul O’Neill stepped up and ripped a run-scoring single to put New York on the board. Cecil Fielder then had his chance, and hit a three-run home run to left field off the foul pole. The Yankees were off and running.
New York added another run in the third, two in the fifth and five in the seventh to cap the scoring for the day. Fielder almost connected on a grand slam in the seventh when he hit a deep fly ball to right field. Former Yankee Ruben Sierra misplayed it, much to the delight of the Yankee Stadium crowd.
Along with Rogers, O’Neill showed some good signs of coming out of a slump. He had been 3-for-his-last-18 entering play today. “I feel better when the ball rolls through holes. And I found some holes today,” O’Neill said. “Sometimes days off can help you put things in perspective. But I don’t want to make a habit of it. I’d rather play. And I feel if I can get on base with Cecil behind me, we can score some runs.” (Via NY Times)
The Yankees have activated both Tim Raines and Pat Kelly, who are both coming off hamstring injuries. Mike Aldrete was placed on the DL with tendinitis in his wrist.