Too many damn home runs. That's what the Yankees hit last night on their way to a series-opening victory over the defending champs, and I was tickled pink to see it. This team could use a few more dingers with A-Rod on the mend. Hell, it could use more runs however it can get them. The homer parade started early when Brian McCann cracked a solo shot to right-center off Kansas City starter Chris Young in the 1st to put the Yanks up 1-0. After Alex Gordon tied the game in the the 2nd with a solo shot, the Bombers came right back with one of their own in the bottom half off the bat of Carlos Beltran.
Things really got nuts in the bottom of the 3rd. Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks went back yard job to start off the inning to make it 4-1 Yanks, and Beltran came through with his second shot of the night with 2 outs to make it 5-1. 5 runs on 6 hits, 5 of them homers, in 2.2 innings against Young. The last one put the pin in his night and gave the pitching staff plenty of lead to work with.
I say "pitching staff" because it was a lot of hands on deck last night in Ivan Nova's first start in place of CC. He was scheduled for about 75 pitches and he needed 81 to record 14 outs. The Royals put plenty of men on base against Nova but could never come up with the big one to plate anybody. He left with only the Gordon home run against him, and the tandem of Phil Coke and Kirby Yates did a very nice job of getting the game through 7 without letting any more across.
That was the job of Chasen Shreve, who gave up another home run in the 8th, and Aroldis Chapman, who gave up a double and got burned by some shaky infield defense to get charged with a run in the 9th. He also flashed the stuff that's made him the best reliever in baseball over the past few years, striking out the first 2 batters he faced in pinstripes on 97 and 101 MPH fastballs. That'll work.
- Yanks scored an insurance run in the 7th on 2 singles and a Hicks sac fly, but it is worth noting that the offense went quiet again after Young was knocked out.
- It's been slow, but Hicks is starting to come around a little bit. 4 hits and 3 runs scored in his last 5 games, including his first 2 home runs of the year.
- Good to see Beltran get his power stroke back. He hadn't hit a home run since 4/20.
- Most of the bridge bullpen props go to Yates, who got 5 outs without allowing a run and struck out 2 to end the 6th. He can be shaky in terms of putting guys on base, but he has thrown 6 straight scoreless appearances (5.0 IP) with 8 Ks since 4/21.