The New York Yankees, along with the rest of baseball, took the field Saturday afternoon donning the number 42 on their backs. Major League Baseball honored the late Jackie Robinson today, who infamously broke MLB’s color barrier back in 1947. Saturday was MLB’s 13th annual Jackie Robinson Day, and the 70th anniversary of Robinson’s debut.
I was lucky enough to choose Saturday as my first trip to Yankee Stadium of the season. Fans wearing Yankees, Cardinals, and Robinson jerseys alike filed their way into the Stadium for some April baseball. The Yankees sent CC Sabathia to the mound, while the Cardinals sent Carlos Martinez.
Sabathia set the tone in the top of the first, striking out the first batter he faced and retiring the side in order. The Yankees followed it up with a run in the bottom half of the first. Interestingly enough, the Yankees didn’t put the ball in play until Martinez’s 62nd pitch of the afternoon. Their run came on a wild pitch that followed a pair of walks to start the inning.
Eight Walks, 11 Strikeouts
Martinez continued to put together one of the strangest stat lines you’ll see in 5 ⅓ innings of work. He yielded just four hits, three runs (two earned), walked eight, and struck out 11. It was almost as if I was watching two different pitchers on the mound. When he was hitting his spot, hitters didn’t stand a chance. Yet whether he was hitting his spot fluctuated from batter to batter. Regardless, Martinez kept the Cardinals in the game until he was removed with one out in the sixth.
The Yankees tagged on a couple of runs in the sixth. A bloop double by Ronald Torreyes, a throwing error by Martinez, and an RBI single by Chris Carter padded the Yankees’ lead. On the mound, Sabathia dominated throughout the game. He gave up just one run, walked a batter, and struck out six. A home run by Jedd Gyorko with one out in the eighth knocked the big man from the game. Sabathia exited to the sound of a standing ovation from the home crowd.
The Yankees, now up 3-2, brought in Adam Warren to replace Sabathia. Warren has been perfect to start the season, and continued it by recording the last two outs of the eighth. Things got hairy in the top of the ninth when Tyler Clippard was brought in to close things out. Aroldis Chapman was unavailable after three straight days of work. Clippard gave up a homer to Stephen Piscotty and put runners on first and second, but ultimately struck out the side to seal the deal.
The 3-2 victory extended the Yankees’ win streak to six games, the longest active streak in the Majors. They improve to 7-4 on the season, while the Cardinals drop to 3-8. The two will face off a final time on Sunday night. Adam Wainwright is set to square off against Michael Pineda, who is coming off of one of his best starts of his career.