Follow along here, as the same handful of names will repeat themselves throughout these paragraphs. Last night at Yankee Stadium, rookie Eric Hosmer — with his family on hand — hit his first major-league home run, a solo shot that answered Curtis Granderson’s major-league leading (!) twelfth homer from the previous half-inning. (At this point in the game, after Hosmer’s homer, the Yankees would hold a 2-1 lead.) That home run would be the only hit A.J. Burnett allowed over seven innings, but he’d also walk five and hit Jeff Francoeur with a pitch, a half inning after Robinson Cano took one off the helmet. (Thankfully, Cano’s CT scan came back negative, and he’s considered day-to-day.)
But David Robertson, a hero of the previous night’s game, couldn’t get out of trouble this time, allowing an eighth-inning, game-tying hit to Wilson Betemit, the former Yankee dealt away in one of Brian Cashman’s better trades — not that you’d know it by watching Nick Swisher these days. (Neither Joba Chamberlain or Rafael Soriano were available last night, by the way.) And so the game continued, into the tenth, when Jeff Francoeur — who’d been beaned two innings earlier — put the Royals on top, scoring Hosmer, the rookie who’d hit his first home run. (Frenchy, by the way, is off to a great start to 2011, with eight home runs and a .307 average. His .577 slugging percentage and .928 OPS would both be career highs, if he keeps them up.)
Anyway, with the Yankees down to their final out, Curtis Granderson singled to drive in another run and tie the game. But that just gave Hosmer the chance to impress his family one final time by hitting the sacrifice fly to Granderson in center that scored the go-ahead run. And in the bottom of the inning, Louis Coleman closed the game out for Kansas City, striking out Swisher, the man acquired in the trade that sent Betemit to the White Sox.
So what did the Yankees learn last night? Well, their offense still isn’t right, going just 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, stranding a runner in scoring position in six innings, and leaving the bases loaded twice. And let’s not overlook another encouraging start from A.J. Burnett, who, thanks to the walks and the hit-by-pitch, allowed two base-runners in three different innings, but not only avoided the disaster inning he’s been known to give up, but also didn’t allow any of those base-runners to score. The Yankees got twelve hits to the Royals’ four last night. So perhaps the real lesson is that it’s not just how many hits you get, but when you get them.