The temperatures in Tampa, Florida were unusually cold yesterday afternoon, but the New York Yankees were already in mid-Summer form. Prospect Colin Curtis belted a 3-run, walk off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Yankees a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the teams’ grapefruit league opener.
The walk off win became a staple of last year’s team that captured its 27th title and though it was just an exhibition game, the ironic outcome of yesterday’s game was lost on no one.
Chad Gaudin started for the Bombers and was followed by two of his fellow combatants for the 5th starter spot, Sergio Mitre and Al Aceves. The three combined to allow just one hit over six innings. A rough beginning by Jonathan Albadejo and a Yankees error helped the Pirates tie things up in the 7th after the Yankees had jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
But after lead off singles by fellow minor leaguers Brandon Laird and Jon Weber to start the 9th, Curtis hit a no doubt about (in fairness almost all home runs in the grapefruit league are no doubt about it due to the wind) blast off Virgil Vasquez to right-center for the game winner.
Ramiro Pena opened the scoring for the Yankees in the 6th with a solo home run. Nick Johnson added an RBI double and Weber drove in a third run in the inning with the first of his two singles. Former Yankees prospect was charged with all three runs.
The Yankees traditionally wore their pinstripes for the only time during spring training.
Curtis Granderson played centerfield and was 0-2 in his Yankees’ debut.