If one had rattled off some of the stats from today’s game that the Yanks amassed without the result, I dare say most if not all of us would presume the Yanks would have won the game. To wit: the Yanks worked 7 walks (8 in the game) and stole 3 bases off Rangers starter Dustin Nippert in just 3 2/3 innings. They fanned 15 Rangers batters, allowing just 3 walks. Burnett had a perfect game going through his first 3 2/3.
The result? The Yanks lost 7-2. Burnett issued two walks with two outs in the fourth–the first two Rangers to reach base, starting with Hamilton who, it seems, should have been out on a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. He then grooved one belt-high to Kinsler, who tattooed it out to deep left, 3-1 Rangers.
This was made all the bigger because the Yanks left 6 on base through the first three innings. After JD walked, stole second, and scored on Teixeira’s single, Cano later lined out hard to left with the bases loaded to end the first. JD’s K to end the second left Melky at third. With first and second and one out in the third, Swish popped up weakly, and Cano grounded out in a 4-3 just as feebly, to end the third just before Burnett’s three consecutive tough at-bats in the fourth. In the bottom half, after Molina’s DP ball erased Melky’s lead-off walk, Jeter and JD walked, and Teixeira drove in Jeter, 3-2 Rangers. But A-Rod’s weak comebacker to Grilli ended that. After four, the Yanks trailed 3-2 despite working seven walks, and allowing just one hit and two walks.
It got worse from there, with the Rangers’ bullpen shutting down the Yanks. They wouldn’t seriously threaten until they trailed 6-2 in the seventh, when Davis hit a three-run homer with none out off Coke, who again struggled. In the bottom of the seventh, JD singled and Teixeira reached on a botched force attempt, but Wilson fanned A-Rod, Matsui, and a statue impersonating Swish in succession. Kinsler hit a solo homer in the top of the eighth off an otherwise good Robertson, 7-2.
Despite the three walks and homer, Burnett was tremendous, fanning 12 on 105 pitches/63 strikes. In fact, despite piling up the strikeouts early and often, he was working efficiently until the consecutive walks in the top of the fourth. Coke was atrocious, allowing the three-run homer to Davis in just 2/3 IP. His ERA is now above 5 (5.05). Aceves worked the ninth and was good, but by that point, the game was pretty much over.
Teixeira was 2-5 with 2 RBI, 97 on the season, batting .287. JD was 2-3 with 2 walks, batting .288. Melky and A-Rod each had a single. Yet going 2-12 with RISP, stranding 12 including 7 in scoring position, was a killer. So were the three homers allowed, two of which came with two runners on and were half of Texas’s total opportunities with RISP (4). This was only the third series (with the Angels and White Sox) the Yanks have lost in the last two-plus months. They have been rolling, but lost a bizarre train wreck today. They are still 5 1/2 up on Boston in the East and, should Chicago hold on to beat Boston–they lead 9-0 in the fourth–this game won’t change anything in the East. We’ll see about home field later tonight, when the Angels host Oakland.
[Edit: Chicago beat Boston 9-5, with Nick Greem throwing two shutout innings in mop-up work for Boston. The Yanks are still up six games. All told, a frustrating game but no better or worse in the standings. The magic number to clinch the division is now 30.]