The Yankees lost Robinson Cano over the winter when he signed a big contract with the Seattle Mariners. So what did they do to replace him? They signed the often-injured Brian Roberts to a one-year deal.
Roberts turned out to be the hero for the Yankees last night, hitting his first homerun of the season in the 9th inning to put the Yankees ahead, 4-3, as they would go on to beat that Los Angels Angels by that same score on Tuesday night in Anaheim.
Hiroki Kuroda turned him, probably, his best start of the season to this point, and David Robertson picked up his 5th save of the Yankees in the Yankees second win in their last seven contests.
The Angels took a 2-0 lead against Kuroda and the Yankees in he 3rd inning when Eric Aybar and Mike Trout each drove in a run with a sac-fly. The two-run inning made is six straight games that the Yankees have failed to score first. They last time they were the first team to cross home plate in a game was April 26th against the Mariners.
But the Yankees' offense made sure that Kuroda's quality start would no be wasted by a lack of run support, contrary to his career tendencies.
Yangervis Solarte, who went 2-for-4, and Brett Gardner singled back-to-back to open the 5th inning, then Brian Roberts drove home Solarte with a single into center field. The next batter, Jacoby Ellsbury, grounded into a double play that scored Gardner, evening the game at 2-2.
The Yankees were able to take the lead in the 8th inning, pulling ahead on an Alfonso Soriano RBI single, but the Angels collected that run back against Shawn Kelley in the bottom half of the inning.
Cruising into the 8th, Kuroda was able to get the first two hitters to fly-out before Trout tripled to deep right field. Kuroda was pulled after that. He lasted 7.2 inning, and was credited with three runs (only one earned) on five hits, while striking out eight and walking none.
Albert Pujols was the first hitter to greet Kelley, who was ejected Monday night for auguring balls and strikes after already being pulled from the game, and Pujols slapped a single to left field to tie the game once more.
However, with two outs in the 9th, Roberts pulled a solo homerun off Ernesto Frieri into the right field seat to give the Yankees a lead they wouldn't give up, since Robertson was able to close out the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning.
With the win, the Yankees were able to pull even with the Baltimore Orioles atop the AL East standings, though the O's do lead by a couple percentage points. The Yankees and Angels will finish up this three-game series tonight before the Bombers head out to Milwaukee. Vidal Nuno will get the ball tonight, matching up against Hector Santiago.