Yankees Wait For Rays To Lower Their Shields


GAME 6
YANKEES 7, RAYS 3

The Yankees played their version of “rope-a-dope” to get the pitch count up on Rays’ ace James Shields and it worked to perfection.
Jorge Posada blasted a two-run home run with one out in the sixth inning off reliever Randy Choate, who had just entered the game after Shields had thrown 103 pitches, as the New York Yankees took a 3-2 lead and went on to thump the Rays 7-3 on Sunday.
A.J. Burnett (1-0) pitched more economically than Shields and he lasted seven innings to pick up his first victory of the season. Choate (0-1) took the loss.
With the victory, the Yankees won the series and ran their record to 4-2. The Rays fell to 3-3.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Burnett showed Shields the value of keeping the pitch count down. He threw 92 pitches and gave up only two runs on six hits and three walks in seven innings. Shields had a 2-1 lead but had to be removed with one on and one out in the sixth inning after throwing 103 pitches.
  • Once again, the Yankees feasted on a largely deficient Rays’ bullpen. Choate, Lance Cormier and Andy Sonnanstine pitched 3 2/3 innings and served up five runs on five hits and one walk. 
  • Alex Rodriguez contributed to the attack with two doubles and two RBIs.
  • Curtis Granderson had a very good all-around game, He was 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the second to score Rodriguez with the Yankees first run. He also singled off the left-hander Choate, stole second, move to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch from Cormier to make it 4-2. Granderson also made a fine sliding catch on a sinking liner in the fifth by Dioner Navarro and doubled off Pat Burrell at first base.
  • Nick Swisher connected on his second home run of the season in the eighth inning off Sonnanstine.
  • Mark Teixeira may have struck out all three times he faced Shields but he made the veteran right-hander pay for it. Teixeira forced Shields to throw 18 pitches in his three at-bats.
THE NEGATIVES

  • After Teixeira broke out of his 0-for-17 slide on Saturday he was 0-for-4, with a walk and a run scored. Of his three strikeouts, two times he was caught looking.
  • Brett Gardner was 0-for-4 and he failed to get a ball out of the infield.
  • Burnett got off to a rocky start by allowing a Jason Bartlett single, a stolen base, an RBI single by Carl Crawford, a stolen base, a walk and an RBI groundout to Carlos Pena. But after that Burnett gave up only four hits and two walks over the next six innings.
  • Joba Chamberlain relieved Burnett in the seventh and immediately made things a bit too interesting for the Rays by giving up a single, an RB
    I triple and a walk. But he got out of the inning by getting B.J Upton to fly out to left with two runners on and the Yankees held their 7-3 lead.
  • Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth in a non-save situation and gave up a leadoff single and later walked the No. 9 hitter Sean Rodriguez. But he benefitted from a doube play and struck out Jason Bartlett to end the game.
  • In defense of Chamberlain and Rivera, not many pitchers in the bullpen have been getting much work because the Yankees had two off-days last week and CC Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning and Burnett threw seven on Sunday. It is hard to stay sharp when you are not getting regular work.
DIAMOND NOTES

If there was any doubt that Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is the worst baseball facility in existence, the bottom of the sixth inning proved it. With one on and two out, Evan Longoria hit a harmless pop-up straight up behind home plate, it struck the “B Level” catwalk and landed in fair territory. By ground rule, Longoria was awarded a single. Burnett, a bit unnerved by the call, walked Pena to load the bases. But he escaped without giving up a run when B.J. Upton popped up to Teixeira without hitting any catwalks to end the threat.  . . .  Second base umpire James Hoye blew a call in the seventh inning when Curtis Granderson appeared to have caught Dioner Navarro’s fly ball on a diving catch. Hoye ruled Granderson trapped it but replays showed the ball hit in Granderson’s glove pocket and never touched the ground. No harm though. Burnett ended the inning by getting Rodriguez to bounce into a double play.  . . .   The Yankees completed their spring training schedule and first road trip of the season. They will fly back tonight to New York, the first time they have been in the city as a team since they won the World Series and their parade.  . . .  The Yankees will host a charity Welcome Home Luncheon tomorrow at noon.  . . .  The team will also have a huge Opening Day celebration planned for Tuesday. The Yankees will receive their World Series rings before the game.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will celebrate their 2010 world championship by receiving their World Series on Tuesday before the game. They will receive them in front of the team they beat to advance to the World Series: the Los Angeles Angels. Hideki Matsui, who was the World Series MVP for the Yankees, will receive his ring in an Angels’ uniform. 
Andy Pettitte (0-0), who pitched the clinching Game 6 of the World Series, appropriately will get the start for the Yankees. He will be opposed by Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (0-1).
Game-time is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally by the YES Network and nationally by the MLB Network.

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