Michael Pineda has struggled for much of this season, but Tuesday night he provided a small glimpse of what the Yankees think he can be.
Save for a fifth inning in which he gave up three runs, including two on a home run to Kole Calhoun, Pineda was solid in New York’s 6-3 win. The 6-foot-7 right hander made it through seven innings on just 91 pitches and even reached 97 miles per hour in his final frame of work. Pineda reached the seventh for the first time all season.
On the offensive side, the Yankees got off to a really quick start against David Huff’s season debut for the Angels. Carlos Beltran continued his hot streak, launching career homer No. 407 in the first — a two-run shot that gave New York a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees also benefitted from a few defensive miscues by the Angels, with third baseman Yunel Escobar forgetting how many outs there were at one point. Albert Pujols also dropped a throw at first base from Huff, leading to a run in the second.
Once New York was comfortably in front, Joe Girardi handed the game to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the final two innings as the elite relievers sealed the win.
THE PLAY: WITH A THOUSAND EYES, AND ONE (+.171 WPA)
Not only was Beltran’s homer the 407th of his career, it was also his 1,000th career extra-base hit. The 19-year veteran is staking his claim for the Hall of Fame in his last few seasons, and such a milestone will surely help his case among the voters.
Angels — Kole Calhoun: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Yankees — Starlin Castro: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
— Pineda’s final line ended with seven innings pitched with three runs on four hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Now, having allowed three or fewer runs in three of his last four starts, Pineda seems to be finally turning a corner after his rough start to the season.
— Aroldis Chapman did not pitch in the win after pitching the last three consecutive games and four of the last five. Since returning from his 30-game suspension, Chapman has appeared in 14 of the Yankees’ 28 subsequent games. Miller made his 25th appearance of the season and earned his 7th save, his first since Chapman’s return. Betances pitched in his 29th game of 2016 on Tuesday.
— Aaron Hicks had an all-around nice night for the Yankees on Tuesday, going 2-for-3 while scoring a run on a Rob Refsndyer sacrifice fly. He also made a few impressive catches in the outfield. It’s been a struggle for Hicks for most of this season, as even with Tuesday’s performance he is slashing .205/.267/.308 for the season.
— The Yankees held the middle of the Los Angeles order nearly silent. The Angels’ Nos. 3-6 hitters — Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, C.J. Cron and Johnny Giavotella — went a combined 1-for-14 Tuesday.
THE HIGHLIGHT: TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STARLIN
Starlin Castro has cooled off since his hot start in April, but managed to fist a solo home run off the right field foul pole in the third inning. His ninth of the year, Castro’s home run would have gone out in just one other Major League stadium — Fenway Park.
New York looks for a series win Wednesday against the Angels. The Yankees will trot out Nate Eovaldi (6-2, 4.09 ERA) while the Angels counter with Jered Weaver (5-4, 5.18 ERA).
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