Yankees beat Army at West Point in final exhibition
While the game was indeed the Yankees' final tune-up for the regular season, it was nowhere near your typical exhibition; throughout the game, various Yankees players sat in the dugout with the Black Knights and enjoyed some hardball camaraderie, and several made their way out to the right field bleachers to hang out with the cadets seated beyond the fence - including Joba Chamberlain, who Tweeted pictures and signed a bunch of autographs while hanging out with the academy's finest.
Once the game began, the Yankees and the record crowd of more than 5,500 did get a little taste of home: roll call. During the first inning, the cadets seated out in right field took the place of the Bleacher Creatures for a day and called out the names of players on the field.
They saw a pretty quick first inning, as both Army starter Andrew Flaherty and Yankees starter Vidal Nuno each worked a 1-2-3 frame. In the second, however, the Yankees got on the board in a big way, batting around and scoring five runs off Flaherty.
Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch leading off, and Brennan Boesch - who replaced the scratched Travis Hafner minutes before first pitch - hit a two-run home run to open the scoring. After singles by Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay, Francisco Cervelli laced an RBI single to make it 3-0, and after Brett Gardner singled to re-load the bases, Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a fielder's choice to score Wells and make it 4-0. Robinson Cano followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0, but Flaherty retired Youkilis to end the inning.
Army would strike in the third off lefty Boone Logan, who allowed four runs on four hits and a pair of hit batsmen while only recording one out - a 4-3 force that drove in the Black Knights' second run. Shawn Kelley came in and got Logan out of the jam by retiring both of the batters he faced, but one of those was a sacrifice fly that brought Army to within 5-4 at inning's end.
Most of the Yankees' starting nine departed the game at that point, going over to spend some time in the Army dugout enjoying the company of the Black Knights players and signing some autographs as well.
The Bombers' reserves would add two runs in the sixth, one in the eighth, and two in the ninth - one of which came on Melky Mesa's fourth spring home run - and Army got one back off Juan Cedeno in the eighth to bring the final score to 10-5.
With that, the exhibition slate is over for the Yankees, who went 15-19-1 overall in Spring Training. After an Easter Sunday off, it all begins for real on Monday when the Yankees open the season by hosting the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium at 1 p.m.
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