Two Hours/A Second Win

Tampa, Fla. February 26, 2020; Yankees 8, Washington 2 — Tommy Kahnle must have felt like he was pitching for the save in a postseason game when he finally got a called strike to retire Washington second baseman Jake Noll for the third out of the top of the fifth inning Wednesday afternoon. With the most tenuous grasp on the weather, he assured fans that, yes, we were watching a complete game 8-2 victory by the Yankees.

The game commenced at 1:06 on a warm afternoon under decidedly threatening skies. The threat of rain was real; that it would be accompanied by lower temperatures we should have guessed. The Yanks were down 2-0 by the time we first felt drops falling in the second while Gary Sanchez was popping out to short. Masahiro Tanaka had hit third baseman Carter Kieboom with a pitch, and catcher Raudy Read homered to left two pitches later, in the top of the second. This ball easily cleared the wall and Miguel Andujar, playing his first game in left field. He had been of course tested on the game’s first play, a short fly on which he had to call off shortstop Gleyber Torres to make the play.

Andujar’s day in left was a success, as was his day at the bat. He flied out to center twice, but doubled hard down the left field line in the fifth, a half inning that would end with the bases loaded and one down. The field was covered, and the game called several minutes later. This was the third of three two-base hits by the home team, as DJ LeMahieu would drill one to left center for an rbi in the six-run third. And Clint Frazier, the up-til-now hands-down offensive star of the early games, pulled one into the left field corner in the two-run fourth.

Although all three doubles were well hit, it would be incorrect to characterize this win as an offensive explosion, unless you compared it with the games that came before. The Yankees did plate four (of six) earned runs in the third inning, but Kieboom’s wild throw on Eric Kratz’s grounder to third started the scoring, and Victor Robles’s airmailed throw on Sanchez’s sac fly carried into the Nationals dugout. The visitors hit two dugouts with throws in this one. But there’s no knowing how many runs the Yanks could have scored also; they left the bases loaded at the end.

Tanaka pitched well, for a first outing, as did Chris Britton, Chad Green, and Kahnle, the three prime-time bullpenners also making their 2020 debuts. Green issued a walk, as did Kahnle, along with a single. Mike Ford started the early uprising with a single, and walked. Good-field/no-hit center fielder Estevan Florial, in for Brett Gardner in the fourth, had a nice rbi single. Torres made an error at short, but on a tough short-hop try.

At the end (OK, the middle) of the day, fans felt lucky that we got to witness a win and some solid offense, while getting in and out of the park with plenty of the day yet before us. Fans have the opportunity, for instance, to catch Bernie Williams playing at a show in Clearwater tomorrow (following another home game, this one hosting the Rays), something we discovered when he surprised us all by playing the National Anthem at this game. We enjoyed (or survived — it’s all perspective) 12 hours of ball to get to a win, two losses, and a tie to this point. Today was a bargain, at,

Two Hours/A Second Win