On a single, laughable play, the tenor of this 6-4 Yankees victory pivoted from jittery to jovial. The actor at the center was Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario. The Yankees served merely as props in his slapstick exhibition in the first half of this doubleheader. With one out in the seventh, Belisario entered the game. Two Yankees already stood on base. At the plate was Vernon Wells. Belisario induced a weak pop-up back to the mound. He stepped forward to field it. At the last moment, Belisario allowed the baseball to drop. Perhaps he intended to attempt an unlikely double play. He could not have intended what followed. The ball nestled in the grass. Belisario fumbled for it, unable to make a clean grab. By the time he picked up the ball, Wells was safe. Belisario tried to atone for his error. Instead, he made another one, flinging the ball into the outfield. Jayson Nix scooted home. Belisario hit the next batter he faced and exited to jeers from the Yankee Stadium crowd. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a two-run single soon after. As Hiroki Kuroda limited his former teammates to two runs during 6 2/3 innings, Lyle Overbay ripped a two-run double, Suzuki hit a solo home run and Belisario committed an egregious pair of errors to ignite a three-run rally in the seventh. That cushion proved critical. Rookie reliever Preston Claiborne served up a laser beam of a two-run homer in the eighth inning to shortstop Hanley Ramirez. The Yankees built their lead in the second inning. Thomas Neal and Suzuki each singled off Dodgers starter Hyun-jin Ryu. The table was set for Overbay. He entered the game batting .164 against lefties. At 36, he has settled into a comfortable niche as a platoon player. He can still pulp righties. Lefties render him useless. But Mark Teixeira’s recurring wrist injury forced Overbay back into the starting lineup. Facing Ryu, Overbay collected just his 10th hit off a southpaw this season. He banged a double over the head of Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier to plate Neal and Suzuki. Kuroda was not at his best. He gave up five hits in the first four innings. He did not record a strikeout until the fifth. A slick play in the field helped him escape a fourth-inning jam.
Yankees benefit from Dodgers' mistakes in 6-4 victory in Game 1
Newark Star-Ledger | Jun 19