After taking part in both a blowout win and loss the past two nights, the Yankees finally played a game that was close up until the final out, defeating the Los Angeles Angels, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
I was working all day, and nobody else on the site was able to recap today's game, so I'll run through a little rapid reaction recap of the game.
** Murph Man: John Ryan Murphy had himself quite the game, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs from the No. 9 spot in the lineup. Murphy gave the Yankees a two-run lead in the 2nd inning, breaking a 1-1 tie with a two-run double into right-center field. I few innings later in the 5th, he hit a solo homerun off Hector Santiago to once again break a tie game, givnig up the Yankees a 4-3 lead, which they would be able to hold on to.
It was Murphy's first career homerun, which kind of surprised me, because I thought that he might have hit at least one during his September call-up last season.
** Nothing for Nuno: Vidal Nuno went home with the no-decision in his first start as an official member of the Yankees's rotation since Ivan Nova went down with Tommy John surgery. It wasn't Nuno's best outing, as he only went 4.1 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out four. It looked like we could be heading for another tough loss when Nuno gave up a homerun to Mike Trout to open the ballgame. He gave up a pair of run in the 4th inning that tied the game at 3-3, and left early in just the 5th inning after reaching his pitch-limit for the day.
Nuno is the Yankees' 5th starter for the time being, as Joe Girardi announced this past week, but with David Phelps taking Michael Pineda's spot in the rotation during his suspension, he could have a chance to earn that 5th starter spot, since the Yankees will need one of them -- or someone else -- to fill the role for the rest of the season with Nova down.
** Bullpen brilliance: The Yankees' bullpen did a great job of shutting down the Angels' offense for 4.2 inning after Nuno left the game. Dellin Betances continued to impress, tossing two scoreless innings and giving up just one hit and a walk, lowing his ERA to 0.77 for the season. Shawn Kelley permitted two hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. Matt Thornton did his lefty-on-lefty thing, getting Raul Ibanez to fly out in the 8th. And David Robertson got his first save opportunity since coming off the DL on Tuesday, picking up his 3rd save of the season, giving up just a single to Trout. Robertson has yet to allow a run this season.
** Final note: Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch on the top of left foot, but did stay in the game. There was some swelling afterwards, and x-rays were negative, according to Newsday's Erik Boland. Luckily the Yankees have Monday off, so they'll be able to rest Gardner Sunday and Monday, giving him at least to days to heal before the Seattle Mariners come to town on Tuesday. Derek Jeter picked up another hit today. He's now reached base in 16 of his last 17 games, and his hitting .292 for the season.
Carlos Beltran (0-for-4) and Kelly Johnson (0-for-3) were the only Yankee starters to not get a hit today. Jacoby Ellsbury made a really nice diving play early in the game, laying out to catch a ball in shallow left-center field. I must say, I was skeptical when they signed him, but he's really played well early, and should have no problem winning a starting spot on the All-Star team if he keeps it up.
** Up next: As if Sunday's couldn't be cooler, Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for the Yankees in the series finale on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, going up against Angels righty Garret Richards.