Don't look now, but the New York Yankees are slowly starting to gain some momentum heading into the final month of the 2014 season as they are trying to make a push for the postseason.
Michael Pineda, who was making his third start since coming off the DL, a stint that lasted three months due to a strained back muscle, has resumed his strong performance on the mound and on Monday night in a makeup game against the Kansas City Royals, it was no exception.
Pineda tossed 6.1 innings, allowed one run on five hits, walked none and struck out five and picked up his third win of the season; his first going back to April, and dominated the Royals to an 8-1 win. The only mistake Pineda made was in the bottom of the third inning when he allowed a solo home run to Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas, which at the time tied the game at 1-1. After that, Pineda shut the door on Kansas City.
Stephen Drew's sixth home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth inning allowed the Yankees to retake the lead at 2-1, which is where the score stood until the top of the seventh inning, where the Yankees teed off on James Shields. Martin Prado's solo home run made it 3-1, Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single made it 4-1, Derek Jeter's RBI single made it 5-1 and Brian McCann's sac fly made it 6-1.
In the ninth inning, Ellsbury hit his 11th home run of the season to put the game way out of reach, a two-run shot that made it 8-1 and that's where the score stood. Pineda improved to 3-2 on the season with the victory and lowered his ERA to 1.95.
The Yankees pitching has been better than anyone could have expected given how many starters have hit the DL, but Pineda has clearly given them a much needed shot in the arm. In his last three starts; 17.1 innings, four runs allowed, one walk, 12 strikeouts; and 1-0 record in those three starts, all have been very good.
Pineda is starting to build back his arm strength in each start and is looking like the guy that they acquired two years ago from the Seattle Mariners who pitched like an All Star. If the Yankees want any chance of making the playoffs, Pineda is going to play a very big part in that possible run.
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