After their offensive outburst against the Devil Rays over the weekend, the Yankees suffered a disappointing letdown in Kansas City last night. Their bats went cold, and they plated just nine runs, on only 13 hits and four walks.
Then again, it’s possible that Sunday’s 21-4 score may have warped my perspective somewhat.
Monday's game was actually fairly close throughout the middle innings, but the Yankees won 9-2 behind a strong, no-nonsense performance from Roger Clemens, who went seven innings and allowed only four hits. He walked nobody and struck out three. The Royals scored in the 4th on a Mark Grudzielanek double, a groundout, and a wild pitch, and again in the 7th on a solo home run from the unfortunately named Ross Gload, but that was all. (And by the way, you don’t scare me, Grudzielanek -- I’ve been typing out Mientkiewicz for months now. Punk.)
The Yankees scored early and late, and once again every Yankee starter had at least one hit. In the first, Hideki Matsui singled home Melky Cabrera and Derek Jeter; in the second, it was Johnny Damon’s double that scored Robinson Cano and Shelley Duncan.
Those four runs turned out to be enough for Clemens, Luis Vizcaino – who is teaching me how to trust again – and Ron Villone. But the Yankees added five insurance runs in the ninth, anyway, off of Kansas City relievers, turning the game into a last-minute blowout and keeping Mariano Rivera in the bullpen. The first of those runs was Alex Rodriguez's 100th RBI of the season, which came on a sharp single up the middle.
-Melky’s nifty catch on a foul ball in the first. It seemed so certain to drop in that the YES cameras didn’t even bother cutting away from the batter, and the play occurred offscreen.
Cabrera’s batting average and OBP have risen steadily every month this season , from .200/.238 in April to .368/415 in July. Given that he won’t be 23 until August 11, that strikes me as encouraging, as does the fact that he’s started following A-Rod’s workout program. Seriously, if they trade this kid – even if it’s a smart trade that I should logically approve of – I’m going to throw a fit.
-There were several sweet familial moments during the game: Chris and Dave Duncan were in the stands watching brother/son Shelley, thanks to a Cardinals off-day, while in the Yankee dugout Tony Pena tried his best not to look happy when Tony Jr., the Royals’ shortstop, went 2 for 4. I think Tony Junior looks a little like an elf.
-Johnny Damon is starting to look human again; maybe he really has gotten healthy. He was three-for-five last night, and several of those were hard-hit.
-The Yankees announced that Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy have been promoted to AAA. Just typing that, I started salivating a little bit.
Damn Kansas, that song’s gonna be stuck in my head all day now. Carry on my waaaayward soooon, there’ll be peace when yooou are dooone, lay your weary heeead to reeest, don’t you cry nooo mooooooore…