Behind Ichiro Suzuki and a little bit of small ball, the Yankees tied the game in the eighth and then took the lead in the ninth inning as they came from behind to beat the Rays 4-3 at the Trop Tuesday.
Ichiro started things in the top of the eighth with a one out single. He then hustled to get to third on a shallow single by Jayson Nix and scored on a swinging bunt, a little weak grounder to second, by Brett Gardner. That tied it. The Yankees then took the lead in the ninth when Ichiro came up with a two hit, bases loaded single that made it 4-2.
• Phil Hughes made that all possible. He gave up one run in the first on a sac fly by Ben Zobrist and another in the seventh on a Jose Molina RBI-single. Between that he was amazing. He was efficient, he used three pitches effectively, and didn’t give up any home runs. Hughes final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.
• It was the second strong start in a row by Hughes, who had back problems derail him in Spring Training. If he can be a strong and productive No. 4 pitcher this rotation could be something special.
• David Price, a lefty, dominated the first seven innings, but let up a bit in the eighth and then cracked in the ninth. He did keep the Yankees from getting any extra-base hits and didn’t walk any.
• Ichiro was probably the player of the game for going 2-for-4 and being in the middle of both rallies. Robinson Cano deserves some recognition for going 2-for-4 against a lefty though. He’s now 7-for-19 against lefties in the last six games. Small sample size obviously, but it’s a trend that has me thrilled and David Price is a tough lefty, slow start or not.
• Vernon Wells drove in the Yankees first run of the game in the fourth inning that briefly tied the game at 1-1. It was another bit of small ball as Eduardo Nunez, who scored the run, reached after he struck out on a wild pitch and then moved to third on a Cano single.
• Jayson Nix had a much needed good game as he went 2-for-4. He didn’t score or drive in any runs, but his hit was the one that moved Ichiro to third before he eventually tied the game in the ninth.
• Ben Francisco went 0-for-3 and is now hitting .080. Not sure how much longer the Yankees can keep him on the team.
(April 22, 2013 – Source: J. Meric/Getty Images North America).