The Yankees weren't too thrilled about having to face three hard-throwing starting pitchers in this series, and a night after being shutout by Lance Lynn, the Yankees had no problem teeing off against Shelby Miller, one of the Cardinals' best pitchers, with a a lineup that featured Brian McCann at first base, John Ryan Murphy batting fifth, and Derek Jeter and Yangervis Solarte on the bench.
The Yankees scored seven runs together in the 3rd and 4th innings, giving Hiroki Kuorda a lead that he didn't get to stick around long enough to protect after I jinxed him. But they still hung on, through a tight David Robertson 9th, to defeat the Cardinals, 7-4, in the finale of this nine-game road trip.
Kuroda and Miller traded zeros through the first two innings before the Yankees tagged Miller for four runs in the 3rd. Kuroda opened the inning with a groundout before Brett Gardner walked, Brian Roberts singled, and Jacoby Ellsbury singled to drive home Gardner. After getting on base Ellsbury stole second off Yadier Molina, Brian McCann walked to load the bases, then John Ryan Murphy singled home two runs to extend the Yankees' lead to 3-0. Ichiro made it a 4-0 game with an groundout a batter late to score McCann.
Kuroda escaped trouble in the 3rd inning by leaving the bases loaded. He was pitching pretty well until he got two outs in the frame -- that was about the time that I noted on Twitter how he was pitching well and might actually give the Yankee some innings -- but his night started going the other way at that point.
The Yankees put three more runs on the board against Miller in the 4th inning. Ellsbury's third hit of the game was a two-run single into center field that scored Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson -- Ellsbury would steal second base afterwards, of course.
Miller only last five innings, giving up the seven runs on nine hits -- both season-highs -- while walking two and striking out one in his worst start of the season.
After being given a 7-0 lead, Kuroda would go on to give up one run in each of the next three innings before leaving the game.
Daniel Descalso singled home Jon Jay in the 4th for St. Louis' first run. Allen Craig grounded out to score Kolten Wong in the 5th. Wong, by the way, lead the Cardinals with four of their 12 hits in this contest. And then Matt Carpenter ended Kuroda's night in the 6th with a double to deep center that scored Johnny Peralta, closing the gap to 7-3.
And because Kuroda couldn't give the Yankees more then 5.2 innings of three-run ball, giving up nine hits, Joe Girardi had to use his bullpen a little more than he would have liked to.
When Matt Thornton failed to get out Wong, Girardi called upon Dellin Betances to get the final out of the 6th inning, and it was the only batter he would face, with Adam Warren taking over in the 7th. Warren pitched through 1 2/3 innings and was charged to one run that was given up with David Robertson on the mound when Wong singled off of him with two outs in the 8th.
If you thought that Robertson would set down the Cardinals easily in the 9th with a three-run lead, you were terribly mistaken. Robertson put the first two batters on base with a single and a walk, but battled back to strike out the next three batters to end the game.
The Yankees will finally get to head back home to Yankee Stadium to start a three-game series with Phil Hughes, Eduardo Nunez and the Minnesota Twins this Friday.