By Jason Schott - Associate Editor - @JESchott19
The Yankees beat the Cardinals 7-3 on Wednesday night to take two of three in St. Louis and give them four wins in their last five games.
The Yankees jumped out to an early lead in the third as Jacoby Ellsbury got an RBI single followed by a two-run single by John Ryan Murphy. Ichiro then got an RBI on a force out to make it 4-0.
They kept it going in the fourth as Ellsbury got a two-run single and then stole a base. That was huge, as Brian McCann, who started at first base, got an RBI single to score Ellsbury and open up a 7-0 Yankees lead.
Ellsbury said of jumping out to an early edge, "It was nice playing with a lead. I thought (Hiroki) Kuroda did a tremendous job and we got some big hits in big situations. We put a lot of good swings on balls."
Hiroki Kuroda allowed a run each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, and was pulled in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kuroda went 5 2/3 innings, and allowed three runs on nine hits, no walks and got three strikeouts. It was enough for Kuroda to improve his record to 6-4. After Masahiro Tanaka, the ace of the staff, Kuroda has been the best Yankees starter.
It got tough in the eighth inning, as Kolten Wong got an RBI single off Yankees closer David Robertson that made it 7-4. The Cardinals got the first two on in the ninth against Robertson, but he struck out the next three Cards, John Jay, Matt Adams, and Daniel Descalso, to end it. Robertson said of the ninth, "I had to really bear down to get the last three outs. It was a good trip for us, a lot of tough wins for us."
Brian McCann made his first career start at first base, and it might be a sign of things to come. Kelly Johnson started at first Monday and Tuesday when Mark Teixeira's wrist started to hurt him. If Teixeira is out for a while, their best option is McCann at first base and John Ryan Murphy at catcher. Murphy is hitting .357 and has shown he can start every day, and for McCann, a move to the less-strenuous position of first base might get his bat going, as he is hitting just .225.
On playing first, McCann said, "I felt pretty good over there. With each pitch, I was glad balls weren't hit to me, but I'll get more reps in practice just in case Tex needs a couple days and I can fill in there."
This concludes a nine-game road trip in which the Yankees went 5-4. It started in Wrigley Field last Tuesday with a loss to the Cubs. The Yankees got a stirring come-from-behind 3-2 win in 13 innings the next afternoon. The Yankees tied that game in the ninth, which they entered down 2-0, and that was the first time they came back when trailing after seven innings. They were 0-17 in that scenario, which is remarkable considering the Yankees would routinely lead the league in comeback wins.
After the two with the Cubs, they started a four-game series with the White Sox by dropping the first two of that series. The Yankees had another comeback win on Saturday afternoon, coming back from 3-0 down in the ninth and winning in the 10th, 4-3, on a Jacoby Ellsbury home run.
The Yankees then had an easy win on Sunday, 7-1, over the White Sox, led by Masahiro Tanaka and a four-hit, two RBI day from Derek Jeter. Tanaka improved to 7-1 with a 2.29 ERA.
The Yankees opened the series in St. Louis with a 6-4 win in 12 innings. Brian Roberts got an RBI single in the 12th to break the 3-3 tie and start a three-run rally. St. Louis, came back to take the second game of the series on Tuesday night, 6-0, led by Lance Lynn.