Led by outstanding pitching and paced primarily by the bats of Jorge Posada and Mike’s boy Shelley Duncan, the Yankees beat the Jays 5-1 in one of the fastest games that I can recall in some time. It was a hitless game until Jorge led off the third with a first-pitch homer deep into the right-field bleachers–into a stiff wind, I might add, 1-0 Yanks. I was making a bacon sandwich and, after Rays pitcher Wade Davis worked two easy innings including fanning Teixeira, A-Rod, and Cano in succession, I thought it was nice to have Jorge back, that he could jump-start the offense with a hit. He did a lot more than that, then added an RBI ground-rule double to center that Gabe Kapler played badly in the wind, scoring Xavier Nady who himself reached on a ground-rule double to right; nice hitting by X-Man. After the Jays closed it to 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Shelley the Marauder creamed a three-run homer to deep left to put the game as well as the ball out of reach.
Phil Hughes plugged two batters in the first inning but was otherwise good and, importantly, efficient, throwing 33 pitches in his two-inning stint and striking out two with fastballs up. JB Cox surrendered three hits and the lone Jays run in the seventh, but otherwise the Yanks pitchers were outstanding, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out five in the other eight innings. Phil Coke was very good, allowing a hit with a K in his two innings that was all the more impressive to me because he faced a lot of righty hitters. Brian Bruney looked excellent and downright slim in his inning, fanning one and throwing 94-95. Damaso Marte was fairly good, and Mark Melancon made his Spring Training debut in the eighth, working a 1-2-3 inning. He threw about 91-92, was around the plate, and got a strikeout of John Jaso looking. To be fair, Melancon did get some help on a generous 3-1 call on a fastball up and in, and from Cervelli framing the 3-2 fastball on the outside corner. But he was sharp, didn’t allow a base runner, and was very close on 2 of the 3 ball calls to Jaso. Good looking stint for Melancon, and for Albaladejo wrapping it up in the ninth.
Cano looked terrific in the field, making a couple of great plays. Teixeira was very good at first, stretching on a nice charging play by A-Rod to nail the runner and helping Cano out on another play. I had to get my son from school before the seventh, so I missed Shelley’s tater and Melancon’s stint, but I watched both via MLB’s archive a little while ago.
Outstanding pitching, good defense, and some timely hitting–I can get used to all of that. Thanks to Mike F. for dropping by the snap throw of the HDLR out there. Another HDLR comes Saturday afternoon.