The Yankees were once again powered by their offense as they held on to beat Burlington 6-5 thanks to three home runs en route to winning the rubber match, and series, against the Royals. With tonight’s win they have now evened the season series at three games apiece and more importantly increased their first-place lead to +4.5 games.
Pulaski got the first run of the game as Antonio Cabello hit a lead off single and came around to score after Chad Bell drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the first inning. Anthony Volpe added to the Yankees lead when he hit his second home run of the season, and his first at Calfee Park, to put the Yankees up 3-0 after the second inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning the Yankees tacked on one more run when Nelson B. Alvarez hit his fifth home run of the year over the right field wall. The Yankees weren’t bothered by the Royals bringing in a new pitcher in the bottom of the fifth inning as Chad Bell hit his fourth home run of the season to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead as he hit in his team-leading 20th RBI of the season.
Yankees starting pitcher Nelvin Correa made his second start of the year and seemed to have it in cruise control through the first five innings. He gave up four hits and no runs while striking out two. He slipped up a bit as the Royals cut into the lead during the top of the sixth inning. After getting the lead off batter to pop out, Correa had a tough sequence against the next three batters. He gave up a solo home run, a double, and another home run as the Royals cut the Yankee lead in half at 6-3.
Ryan Anderson was called on to pitch the top of the seventh inning. After striking out the first batter he faced he gave up a single but Burlington wasn’t able to do anything with it as Chirinos took a ground ball and turned a double play himself. The Yankees led off the bottom of the eighth with a single from Chirinos. Green flew out to right field and Chirinos was thrown out trying to steal second before Bell went down on strikes as Pulaski was unable to capitalize on the lead off single.
The Royals kept chipping away in the top of the eighth inning as they strung together a pair of singles to start the inning. A ground ball advanced the lead runner to third before another ground ball was able to score him and bring the score to 6-4. The Royals added one more single in the inning that scored another run and the Yankees six run lead had dwindled to just one.
Pulaski couldn’t muster anything in the bottom of the inning and called on Nelson L. Alvarez to try and close the game in the ninth.
The lead off batter popped out into foul territory down the first base line. The next batter reached base on a single to put the tying run aboard for the Royals. However, with one out Burlington tried to get aggressive on the base paths and Campero threw out the runner attempting to move into scoring position. Down to their last strike, the Royals hitter battled back to a full count and was eventually walked to once again put the tying run aboard. A single moved the tying run to second base for Michael Massey who hit the solo home run to start the Royals comeback bid in the sixth. Massey put another charge into a ball that had all Yankees fans holding their breath as they watched it carry just foul over the right field wall. The excitement wasn’t over as he hit another ball down the right field line that also carried inches foul. It was a close play to call but it went in Pulaski’s favor and luckily it did because the ball would have easily carried into the right field corner and allowed the speedy Kevon Jackson to score all the way from first and given the Royals the lead.
Instead, Alvarez got Massey to ground out to the second baseman and the Yankees capped off the night with their fourth consecutive series win.
The Yankees will head out on the road for a six game road trip beginning tomorrow night as they start a three game series against the Bluefield Blue Jays. Bluefield didn’t play tonight as every other team besides Danville and Johnson City had their games cancelled because of the weather. Pulaski has already won the first two series against Bluefield this season and got off to that 8-game winning streak by winning the final two games against Bluefield in their previous series on July 11-12.