(AP Photos/Orlin Wagner)
Things got a little scary at the end, but the Yankees were able to hold on to beat the Royals 4-3. CC Sabathia was very good on his way to his 15th win of the year, allowing three runs on ten hits and two walks, while fanning three.
The big fella breezed through the first eight innings, giving up just one run, but ran into some trouble in the ninth. I'll get to that later, first about CC's first eight. The only run KC scored in that stretch came in the bottom of the 4th with the Yankees already leading 3-0. Alex Gordon doubled with two out, and that was followed by a Mike Aviles RBI single. He had a couple innings where he allowed the Royals to put two men on, but each time he was able to get a big out (or two) when he needed it.
CC was also lighting up the radar gun with his fastball. According to Brooks Baseball, the lefty topped out at 99.3 mph and averaged 95.72. For the night he stuck mostly with the heater, and mixed in the occasional slider.
I already mentioned the Yankees were up 3-0 when KC scored its first run. Those came one at a time in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Curtis Granderson drove in Robinson Cano with an RBI single off KC starter, and left-hander, Bruce Chen. Granderson's new swing already looks like it's paying off. He went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for the game, with both hits coming off the southpaw.
“I just felt comfortable,” Granderson said after the game. “I felt like I was able to see the ball. Felt like I wasn’t up there contemplating too much where I was at or where I was standing. Those are good baby steps.”
After Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher started the 3rd with back-to-back singles, Mark Teixeira drove in the Yankees second run with a sac-fly.
Austin Kearns made it 3-zip with his first homer as a Yankee and ninth of the year, a solo shot in the 4th.
In the 7th, Alex Rodriguez extended the lead back to three with an RBI groundout.
It was 4-1 and CC looked like he would fly through the final innings, but with the Yanks goning just 1-for-9 with RISP and leaving 10 men on base you couldn't help but feel that this game should have been 7-1 or 8-1 at the time. And keeping the game close almost ended up costing the Yanks in the 9th.
With one out and nobody on, Gordon and Aviles singled. Then Mitch Maier grounded into a force to put both men in scoring position for Willie Bloomquist. He had already picked up two hits off CC and at 110 pitch in 100 degree heat, Joe Girardi felt enough was enough and called on David Robertson (Mo was not available).
Bloomquist got a hit anyway, driving a two-run double into right-center and the lead was down to one. KC would make things even more interesting when Wilson Betemit reached on a dribbler towards third to put the the winning run on first and the tying run just 90-feet away.
It was down to D-Rob vs. Jason Kendall, who already had two hits in the game. After Kendall fouled off a couple pitches and battled to even the count at 2-and-2, Robertson was finally able to put him away with a filthy curve ball for a swinging strike three. The Yankees had survived and in the process gained a game on Boston and a half-game on the idle Rays.
Game two of the series is tomorrow night at 8:10 pm, with Dustin Moseley facing off against Kyle Davies.