Yankees explode in seventh, hold on for wild 11-8 win over Orioles
It was the final Florida road trip of the season for the Yankees, who will head north following Thursday afternoon's game in Tampa, and they got timely hitting combined with a strong performance from starter David Phelps, who struck out nine in 5.1 innings in his final spring tune-up.
The Bombers got off to a strong start, scoring three times in the second inning; third baseman Addison Maruszak's RBI groundout got the scoring started, Bobby Wilson followed with an RBI double, and two batters later, Eduardo Nunez drove in Wilson with a single to make it 3-0. Lyle Overbay then singled, recording his first hit as a Yankee, to put runners on the corners with two outs, but Tommy Hunter was able to get Brennan Boesch to pop out to end the inning.
Phelps, meanwhile, was nearly untouchable for four-plus innings, retiring 13 of the first 14 Orioles he faced - getting up to 11 in a row at one point - before Baltimore finally got to him in the fifth; five straight Orioles reached after Chris Davis' inning-opening groundout, with Nate McLouth's two-run homer and Nick Markakis' RBI single evening the game at 3-3 before Phelps struck out both Brian Roberts and Adam Jones to get out of the inning.
The Yankees made it 4-3 in the sixth after two walks, a double steal, and a sac fly by Wilson, and a 1-2-3 bottom for Phelps and Josh Spence - one that saw Phelps fan Matt Wieters for his ninth and final K before being removed - set the stage for a wild seventh inning that took the majority of an hour.
In the top of the frame, the Yankees sent 10 men to the plate starting with Eduardo Nunez, who was credited with an infield single and advanced to second after pitcher Chris Perini threw the ball away trying to gun down the speedster at first. After Overbay grounded out, Boesch and Ben Francisco hit back-to-back homers to center to make it 7-3.
Jayson Nix then singled and Thomas Neal walked to set the stage for Maruszak, who lined a single to left that scored pinch-runner Walter Ibarra. A wild pitch moved Maruszak and Neal to second and third, respectively, and after Wilson grounded out, top prospect Mason Williams laced a two-out double to left that scored both men and made it 10-3.
Unfortunately, the bottom of the frame was almost as fruitful for Baltimore, who plated five runs total and four off Branden Pinder. The righty replaced Josh Spence after Spence allowed a leadoff single to Nate McLouth, and after getting Manny Machado to fly out, Pinder allowed a single to Alexi Casilla and back-to-back RBI singles to Markakis and Roberts that cut the lead to 10-5. He then struck out Jones, but catcher Taylor Teagarden smashed a two-out, three-run homer that chased Pinder and made it 10-8.
Lefty Juan Cedeno came and got Chris Davis to fly out to end the inning, and the Yankees held on from there, adding one final run in the eighth when Melky Mesa doubled and later scored on Ramon Flores' single.
Offensively, the Yankees were paced by Nunez, Francisco, and Overbay, who each had two hits apiece, and the quarter of Boesch, Maruszak, Williams, and Wilson, who all had a pair of RBI. In addition, Neal was 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored, and Nix was 1-for-3 with one base on balls and two runs scored.
On the mound, Phelps' line saw him allow three runs on four hits in his 5.1 innings, walking just two against those nine strikeouts. Pinder struggled in his two-thirds of an inning, but lefties Spence and Cedeno retired three of the four total batters they faced, 2012 sixth-round pick Nick Goody struck out two in a scoreless eighth, and Preston Claiborne finished it off with a 1-2-3 ninth.
With the win, the Yankees improve to 13-17-1 in Grapefruit League play and 13-18-1 overall on the spring. They will end the Florida portion of their pre-season by hosting the Pirates in Tampa on Thursday afternoon before heading north for their final two exhibition games, a stop in Washington, D.C. to play the Nationals on Friday and a trip to West Point, N.Y., on Saturday for the spring finale against the Army Black Knights.
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