The Yankees are off to a good start in the season half of the 2014 season.
David Phelps opened up the second half with 6.1 innings of solid pitching, and thanks to a go-ahead homerun by Jacoby Ellsbury in the 5th, the Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3, on Friday night at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
The Yankees took a quick 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on a Brian McCann RBI double. Brett Gardner walked to open the inning, the stole second base after a back-to-back outs by Derek Jeter and Ellsbury. After Mark Teixeira walked, McCann doubled to center field, scoring Gardner.
The two teams pretty much went back and forth scoring throughout the game.
Brayan Pena hit his first of two homeruns on the night against Phelps two innings later, in the 3rd, which put the Reds on the board and evened up the score at 1-1.
In the bottom half of the 3rd, Jeter and Ellsbury opened with back-to-back singles, then a few batters later, Carlos Beltran knocked an RBI single into center field to put the Yankees back up by a score of 2-1.
The Reds didn't trail for very long, though, as Zack Cozart lead off the 4th with a single. Todd Frazier grounded into a fielder's choice, then moved to third base on a groundout. Devin Mesoraco reached on an error by Jeter, which score Cozart to again tie the game.
An inning later, in the 5th, Jeter opened with a single for this second hit of the game, then a batter later, Ellsbury blasted a 1-1 fastball from Leake into the right field seats, putting the Yankees up 4-2, a lead that they would be able to cling into until the final out.
Leake was still able to get through seven innings for Cincinnati, giving up four runs on eight hits, with two walks and five strikeouts on 110 pitches.
Cruising into the 7th, Phelps gave up another solo homerun to Pena, which made it a one-run game. Phelps then gave up a single to Chris Heisey before retiring Ramon Santiago. That's where Joe Girardi decided to end Phelps' night and bring in Dellin Betances, who retired the next two batters, including a strikeout of Cozart on a 99 mph fastball up in the zone to end the inning.
I didn't see most of his start, but I understand that Phelps was pitching a pretty good game. Girardi probably could have left him in a couple of batters longer. Still, he tossed 6 1/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits, with a walk and seven strikeouts. As long as the Yankees can start hitting, they might just have a chance to compete with more quality outings like this.
Betances came back out for the 8th, and struck out the first two hitters in a three up, three down inning, lowering his ERA to 1.42 on the year.
David Robertson took over in the 9th, set down the first two hitters he faced before Heisey ripped a two-out single into left field, then got Santiago to pop out to end the ballgame to seal his 24th save of the season.
The Yankees and Reds will continue this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 pm ET with Alfredo Simon and Brandon McCarthy on the mound.