56° Good Afternoon
56° Good Afternoon

Stephen Drew's pinch-hit grand slam boosts Yankees

Stephen Drew #14 of the New York Yankees

Stephen Drew #14 of the New York Yankees celebrates at home plate after hitting a seventh inning grand slam against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 13, 2015 in Baltimore. Credit: Getty Images / Rob Carr

BALTIMORE - You saw that one coming, right?

Of course you didn't. Maybe even Stephen Drew didn't, either.

Joe Girardi, on the other hand, must have sensed something when he sent the struggling infielder to the plate as a pinch hitter for the injured Brett Gardner with the Yankees trailing by two, two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning Monday night.

Drew, hitting .150 with a .182 on-base percentage entering the game, delivered.

After getting ahead of righthanded reliever Tommy Hunter 3-and-1, Drew launched the next pitch to right-center for a grand slam that put the Yankees ahead for good in a 6-5 victory over the Orioles in front of 21,633 at Camden Yards.

"That's huge," said Alex Rodriguez, who started at third base for the first time this season and went 0-for-4. "I've never been able to do that in my life. To come off the bench cold, off Hunter, who's such a good pitcher, and get a ball 95 miles per hour and hit it I don't know how many feet, that's impressive."

Drew, not a fan favorite after hitting .150 in 46 games last season with the Yankees, played it low-key afterward.

"Was just in a good situation," he said. "Wasn't trying to do too much. I put a good swing on it and it worked out for the best."

After a 2-4 homestand, it was an encouraging start to a 10-game, three-city trip, though the condition of Gardner's stiff right wrist, which was hit by a pitch in the first inning, could become a problem.

An X-ray was negative, though the wrist, also hit last Wednesday night, bears watching.

"I'm concerned about it," Girardi said. "I'm glad it's not broke, but I don't know what we'll have the next few days."

Gardner stayed in the game but . . .

"It got a little worse as the game went on," he said. "I came to Joe before the seventh inning and I just let him know if guys got on base, I might not be the best guy to go up there and swing the bat. Turns out, Stephen Drew was the man for that job."

The Yankees (3-4), who also got homers from Chris Young and Mark Teixeira, entered the seventh down 4-2, the result of Adam Jones' two-run homer off Michael Pineda in the sixth. Pineda (1-0) struck out nine and walked none but allowed five runs and nine hits in 61/3 innings.

"That's a really good lineup," Pineda said. "I felt pretty good. Just one pitch. Jones made an adjustment on my high fastball."

Manny Machado led off the seventh with a single. After Jonathan Schoop struck out, Everth Cabrera singled to end Pineda's night as Girardi called for Dellin Betances. He allowed a single to Caleb Joseph to load the bases and Alejandro De Aza's 4-6 forceout brought the Orioles within 6-5.

Betances, who hasn't looked particularly sharp, came out for the eighth and allowed a leadoff single to Jones, who was caught stealing by John Ryan Murphy, who threw out two runners. After Betances walked Travis Snider, Girardi called on lefthander Andrew Miller to face the righthanded-hitting Machado. Miller struck out Machado and the righthanded-hitting Schoop to end the inning.

Miller, an Oriole last season and clearly emerging as Girardi's choice as the closer, hit pinch hitter Delmon Young with two outs in the ninth but retired Steve Pearce on a grounder to Drew to pick up his second save.

"Big hit by Stephen obviously carries the day for us," Miller said. "And it was nice to get out there and get some outs and finish it off."


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports