Yanks-Pirates Split Doubleheader

Howard Goldin

For the first time in a decade, a single-admission doubleheader was played in the Bronx. The last time Yankee fans in the Bronx could see two games in one day for the price of one was on September 29, 2004. A very large crowd of 46,858 took advantage of the fine weather to flock to Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

                                        Game One

The Yanks continued their domination over the Pirates in the Bronx with a 4-3 win in game one of the twin-bill. The victory raised the Yankee mark to 8-0 in their interleague games played in the Bronx.

A first inning solo homer by Pirate second sacker Neil Walker was answered by three Yankee runs in the bottom of the inning. The first five Yankee batters reached base successfully. Brett Gardner walked. Derek Jeter followed with a single. Jacoby Ellsbury was hit by apitch, which loaded the bases. Mark Teixeira drove in two runs with a single, which increased his hitting streak to eight straight games. The third run was knocked in by Brian McCann who singled.

In the second, a single by Kelly Johnson, augmented by a stolen base and a throwing error by the Pirate catcher brought him to third. He was driven across the plate by Gardner’s double.

After the contest, Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda explained the benefit of the early scoring of his teammates, “They gave me an early lead in the game [and] I was more aggressive.”

Fortunately for the Yanks, the four runs were sufficient for the win as the team’s sole offense after the second inning was a single by ZoiloAlmonte in the fourth. He was the only one of the last 20 Yankee batters to reach base and he was picked off first.

Kuroda earned his first winning decision since April 14. He yielded three runs, five hits and two walks in his six innings on the mound.

Yankee relievers, Matt Daley, Matt Thornton, Adam Warren and David Robertson blanked Pittsburgh in the final three innings. Robertson earned his eighth save of the year by retiring the last four Pirate batters, three by strikeout.

The two day, three game visit to the Bronx was a home coming for Pedro Alvarez, the Pirate third baseman. Alvarez, a native of the Dominican Republic, lived in the area as a teenager and attended an academically prestigious school in the Bronx, Horace Mann, before enrolling at Vanderbilt University. In the stands supporting the Pirate clean-up batter in his first MLB games at Yankee Stadium were his parents, sister and other relatives and friends.

Alvarez’s single in the fourth gave him a hit in 18 of his last 20 interleague games.

                                               Game Two

Thirty minutes after the first game concluded, the second began.

The rare opportunity to be in a ballpark for seven hours may be more difficult for some than they would have realized. The length of time affected both the crowd in the stands and the players on the field.

The vast majority of the crowd left the park early. The starting lineup for each team in each game was quite different. The sloppiness was more apparent than usual. Each team committed two errors in the second inning, which allowed runners to score. Two baserunners were thrown out trying to stretch and a runner was picked off base.

Each starter, Vidal Nuno for the Yankees and Garrit Cole for the Pirates, pitched effectively for six innings. Interestingly, Cole was originally drafted by the Yankees, but did not sign so he could attend college.

In the seventh, Yankee reliever Alfredo Aceves gave up a home run to Josh Harrison, the first batter he faced. The homer broke a 3-3 tie to give Pittsburgh the lead and eventually the win. The Pirates scored an additional run, but the Yankees did not.

The 5-3 win by the Pirates ended the Yankee Stadium winning streak over Pittsburgh in the Bronx.