Just as everyone predicted, the Alfredo Aceves got the win, David Robertson recorded another save that didn't come very easy, and the Yankees beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-4, in 12 innings on Monday night at Busch Stadium.
With both teams donning the special stars and stripes hats and jerseys for Memorial Day, the Cardinals tied up the game in the 6th inning, and the two teams would play scoreless for the next six innings before the Yankees finally broke through, scoring three runs in the top of the 12th to set themselves up for their third straight victory.
The Yankees didn't wait very long to get on the board against the second-year right hander Michael Wacha, scoring just three batters into the game. Brett Gardner walked to open the contest, Derek Jeter singled to center, then Jacoby Ellsbury singled home Gardner from second to put the Yankees up 1-0.
St. Louis, though, was quick to counter against Chase Whitley, who was making just his third big league start. Matt Carpenter hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the 1st inning, then Kolten Wong double him home to tie the score, 1-1.
Both starting pitcher settled in more comfortably to put up zeros in the next three innings before the Yankees tagged Wacha for a pair of runs in the 5th. The first on a single by Kelly Johnson, who was in the lineup after Mark Teixeira was scratched because of stiffness in his surgically repaired right wrist, to score Ichiro, who had walked to start the frame. Two batters later, Brett Gardner brought home Brian Roberts on a sac-fly, pushing the lead to 3-1.
Whitley was working well until he reached the 6th inning, when the wheels pretty much fell off. Matt Holliday opened up the inning with a double, Carpenter singled, then Whitley hit Yadier Molina to load the bases with nobody out, and that's where his day ended.
Preston Claiborne with the first man out of the bullpen, and gave up a run on a fielder's choice by Allen Craig, then a second on a Johnny Peralta, sac-fly to tie the game up, 3-3. Both runs were charged to Whitley, who gave up three on eight hits, while striking out two without a walk in five-plus innings.
After Matt Thornton got a couple of outs at then end of the 7th, Dellin Betances and Alfredo Aceves both tossed a pair of scoreless innings to help keep the game tied as the Yankees would eventually take the lead in the top of the 12th inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk off Randy Choate to open the 12th, and then stole second base -- and because nobody successfully steals off Yadier Molina, the Cards challenged it, but replays showed Ellsbury was safe. After Choate hit Brian McCann, and Yangervis Solarte bunted both the runners over, which didn't matter much because Ichiro followed with a walk to load the bases with one-out.
The next batter, Brian Roberts, singled to score Ellsbury, putting the Yankees up 4-3. That was he end of Choate, but it didn't keep the Yankees from scoring two more runs off of Jason Mott, with Alfonso Soriano bringing home McCann on a sac-fly and Brendan Ryan driving in one more run with a single to left.
That set-up the save for Robertson, who had to earn his 11th of the year. Derek Jeter got himself an error on a routine groundball by pulling Kelly Johnson off the bag. Two batters later, Jon Jay doubles to drive home Peralta from first, bringing the Cards within two runs. But they wouldn't get any close as Robertson set down the next two to end the game.
David Phelps and Lance Lynn will take the mound for their teams on Tuesday as this series resumes with game two. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.