Friday, May 1, 2009

Cabrera helps Yankees Finish April on a High Note

Cabrera helps Yankees Finish April on a High Note

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
LA Angels
1 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
4 9 1
NY Yankees
1 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 X
7 12 0

WP - Coke (1-0) SV - Rivera (5) LP - Speier (0-1)

Melky Cabrera and Ramiro Pena combined to drive in three runs in the eighth inning Thursday night to give the Yankees a 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. The win gave the Bombers a 12-10 mark for April, the first time they’ve had a winning first month of the season in three years.

A.J. Burnett squared off against rookie Anthony Ortega, who entered the game with a 7.20 ERA and had only one prior major league start. Neither was around when the Yankees staged their game winning rally in the eighth inning and a former Yankee played a key role.

Robinson Cano ripped a one out line drive to right that appeared to be a catchable ball, but right fielder Bobby Abreu played it on a short hop for a single. It was a scene familiar to Yankees fan, who became accustomed to Abreu’s non-aggressive outfield play over 2+ seasons. Jorge Posada followed with a ground rule double off Justin Speier that hopped the fence in right-center to stop Cano at third. It could have been a bad break for the Yankees, but the Yankees of the last three games get clutch hits.

After an intentional walk to Nick Swisher, Cabrera ripped an RBI single to right on the first pitch he saw from Speier. Pena followed with a 2-run double that extended the Yankees lead to 7-4 and gave Mariano Rivera some breathing room in the ninth. After a lead off single by Torii Hunter, Rivera retired three straight Angels, two by strikeout, to record his fifth save of the season.

Burnett struggled early and often and put the Yankees in a 3-1 hole when he gave up a solo home run to Mike Napoli and a sac fly to Erick Aybar in the second inning. Ortega had his own issues as well, but stranded a Yankee in scoring position in the first two innings. But Johnny Damon’s home run in the third cut the deficit in half andAbreu helped the Yankees to take the lead an inning later.

Swisher singled with one out in the fourth, and after Cabrera bounced into a force out, Pena beat out a slow bouncer to third for an infield single. Derek Jeter ripped a single to right that got past Abreu to allow both runners to score for a 4-3 Yankees lead and advanced Jeter to second. Ortega got out of further trouble by getting Damon on a deep fly ball.

The lead was short lived though as Burnett gave up a run in the fifth to tie things back up.

Game Notes

Nick Swisher’s 7 home runs in April were the most by a Yankees since Raul Mondesi hit the same amount in 2003.

Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 17 games.

Weather permitting, the series continues this evening with Andy Pettitte facing Jered Weaver.

Both home runs went to right field last night, where 20 of the 28 hit have landed.

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