The first game of the final series at Yankee Stadium began auspiciously for the home team as the Yankees held the American League Eastern Division champion Baltimore Orioles to one hit in a 5-0 win. Derek Jeter shared the spotlight with winning pitcher Michael Pineda and Jose Pirela, who made his MLB debut.
Pineda broke his three game losing streak as he registered his fourth winning decision of the 2014 campaign. He earned the victory with a truly outstanding performance. The 25 year-old retired the first 13 batters he faced before J.J. Hardy singled to left to end Pineda’s bid for a perfect game.
The Dominican native retired eight batters, five by strikeout before allowing a second Oriole to reach base. Christian Walker drew a walk to lead-off the eighth. The Yankee starter left the game after 7.1 innings, having thrown his season high of 106 pitches.
The single walk issued by Pineda gave him only seven for the season in 69 innings, an average under one per nine innings for the control pitcher. His eight strikeouts was his season best.
Pineda’s won/loss mark is misleading as h has received very meager run support from his teammates prior to Monday’s contest. Pineda had been given zero run support while he was on the mound during eight of his most recent 15 starts. His ERA of 1.93 this year does not equate to a 4-5 record.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi explained why Pineda only gave up on hit, “His command, the movement on his fastball, his slider. He really picked-up where he left off [before his injury].”
Pineda was very pleased as well, “Everything was working good tonight.” It’s very important to help my team every five days.”
The three Yankee relievers, Shawn Kelley, Rich Hill and david Phelps, did not allow a man to reach base.
A surprise hero was Pirela, who made his big league debut. He told reporters he was not told he would be in the starting lineup until that same afternoon. The Venezuelan was the 57th player to see game action in 2014, a franchise mark that broke the previous mark of 56, set in 2013.
Pirela was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2006 at the age of 16. He has been in the Yankee minor league system from 2007 until this week. The newest Yankee took advantage of hid first opportunity in the majors.
He blasted a triple to deep center on the first pitch he was thrown, giving him not only his first hit but also his first run batted in. he drove Ichiro Suzuki, who was on first after being safe on an error, across the plate. Pirela then scored his first run on a ground out by Jeter.
In his second at bat, in the fifth, Pirela singled, and later scored on a Jeter double. After the game, the 24 year-old spoke about his exciting debut, “It’s a dream that cme true. I always maintained a positive attitude. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity. It’s not easy [playing in the majors]. I just wanted to make the adjustment.”
The Yankee captain, with three runs batted in, was also a major contributor. To read more of jeter’s game, please read “The Jeter Watch-Monday, September 22, 2014.”