Roberto Hernandez has been beyond Jekyll and Hyde at times this season, going to the pitching version of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Tonight’s performance was a microcosm of his season, as he pitched well at times, yet remained exceedingly inconsistent throughout the game.
New York got on the board first, as Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki hit back to back singles to lead off the Yankees half of the first, putting runners on first and third. Hernandez settled down, getting Robinson Cano to hit a sacrifice fly, and got out of the inning without further damage.
The Rays tied the game in the top of the third, as Yunel Escobar singled and moved to third on a pair of groundouts, scoring on an infield single by Ben Zobrist. However, the Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Austin Romine doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice, and scored on an Ichiro groundout.
Tampa fought back again in the top of the fourth. James Loney singled to lead off the inning, and moved to second on a wild pitch with one out. Luke Scott drove in Loney with a base hit to right, and the Rays had the bases loaded two batters later. Yet, they were unable to cash in on their opportunity, as Yankees starter David Phelps got out of trouble without allowing any further runs.
Hernandez continued his struggles in the bottom of the inning, as the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs. However, he got a double play behind him, and it appeared as though Hernandez may be able to escape with only one run scoring. Then David Adams reached on an infield single, scoring another run to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead.
The Yankees tacked on a couple of more insurance runs, as Zolio Almonte hit a solo home run, the first of his major league career, in the sixth and Lyle Overbay added an RBI single in the eighth as the Yankees went on to the 6-2 victory. Hernandez took the loss, allowing five runs on nine hits, striking out four in seven innings. He had his moments where he pitched well, and was able to save the bullpen, but this was another typical Hernandez start – he got hit and was unable to get the key outs he needed.
Scott was 2-4 with a double and an RBI in the loss.