Rodon Keeps Yanks on a Roll

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

This is the Carlos Rodon that the Yankees thought they were getting when they signed him to a six-year, $162 million dollar contract last off season.

Rodon made his third straight solid start as the Yankees edged the Miami Marlins, 3-2 at Yankee Stadium last night for their fourth win in a row.

The win gave the Yankees a Major League best 10-2 record. It’s the fourth time in franchise history that the Yankees have started a season with ten wins in their first 12 games. The previous three times occurred in 1922, 1949 and 2003, all pennant winning seasons.

You can’t take ‘em off the board and they matter now as much as anytime,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “I would say it’s early, it is and there’s a long way to go but anytime you can play a stretch of games like this, you sure sign up for that and you take it but more than anything, wins, losses, whatever, at this point in the season, I’m just pleased how the group is competing, how they’ve come together, their purpose and we gotta keep that some focus going.”

The Yankees have now won four straight series to open the season. “This is the way we expect to play,” Alex Verdugo said. “Obviously to come out of spring training, back it up and do what we did against, not light competition by any means. So I feel like we’ve been facing some good teams. This is what you have to do early and obviously throughout the whole year, win series.”

The lefthander pitched six plus innings and gave up two unearned runs on four hits with six strikeouts as he won his first game of the season. It was the longest outing of the young season for Rodon who has now given up three earned runs in 15 2/3 innings, while lowering his ERA to 1.72.

Pitching into the seventh inning and a little tough luck there behind him but just another strong one for him to put us in position to win a game,” Boone said.

Rodon’s cutter has been his out pitch but he also worked in a change up for 10 of his 89 pitches. “A lot of righties in the lineup that I thought the change up would work well against and today I had it,” Rodon said.

Verdugo hit his first Yankee Stadium home run, Giancarlo Stanton drove in a run with an RBI double and Juan Soto had an RBI single that proved to be the game winner. “I’ve hit a home run here before but it didn’t really sink in ‘till Judge said it to me, ‘That’s your first one here, right?’ It was nice, do it early, get the lead off of it, kinda help the game settle in a little bit, it was huge,” Verdugo said.

The Yankee left fielder was greeted by the “dawgs” in the dugout, a reference to a remark he made after the opening four game sweep of the Houston Astros. “Anytime I hear the teammates barking, I got [Anthony] Rizzo throwing up a little ‘arf, arf, arf’ so it’s a lot of fun,” Verdugo said. “They’re running with it and we love it.”

Miami (1-11) continues to have trouble scoring runs but thanks to some shoddy Yankee defense they ended a 16-inning scoreless streak and were able to make the home team sweat.

Rodon walked Josh Bell to lead off the seventh. Jazz Chisholm’s grounder got under the glove of first baseman Anthony Rizzo for an error to put runners on first and second. Tim Anderson reached on an infield single to load the bases with nobody out and that ended Rodon’s night.

Ian Hamilton entered the game in a tough spot but he got Jesus Sanchez on a ground out to first. Bell scored the first Miami run on the play and the Marlins had runners at second and third with one out. After pinch-hitter Nick Gordon drove in a second run with a sacrifice fly, Hamilton snuffed out the rally and kept the lead by retiring Christian Bethancourt on grounder to short.

Hamilton tossed a scoreless eighth inning and Clay Holmes pitched a stress free ninth to earn his fifth save of the season.

In the bottom of the second, Verdugo unloaded on a 1-0 sweeper from Marlins starter and loser A.J. Puk and drove it over the wall in right center field to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. It was Verdugo’s second home run of the season and his first in Bronx as he is starting to come around at the plate. The Yankee left fielder is hitting .300 (6 for 20) in his last six games and has raised his average from .143 to .220.

With runners on first and second and one out in the fifth, Stanton lined an RBI double to left field to make it a 2-0 game. After posting a .125 average in his first six games played, the Yankee DH is 7 for 16 with 2 HRS and six RBIs in his last four games.

Soto’s two out, RBI single in the sixth scored Jon Berti with the third Yankee run. The Yankee right fielder continues to endear himself to the fans as he is hitting .348 and now has 11 RBIs in 12 games.

The Yankees will go for the three-game sweep tonight with Marcus Stroman seeking his second win against Miami left hander Ryan Weathers.

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