May 12: New York 6, Seattle 5
Eight of Erik Hanson’s nine innings were excellent for the Ms. But in the fourth, the Yankees strung together four consecutive singles, and then Mickey Mantle hit his league-best 11th homer. Hanson retired the last 14 batters he faced, walked zero, and struck out 10. His mates almost mustered enough offense to catch up. If the top of Seattle’s lineup could have pitched in a bit, they would have been in good shape. But the offense only came from their six through eight hitters Robinson Cano, Ichiro Suzuki, and Kyle Seager. They went a combined 6-for-11 with a walk, three doubles, and a Seager round-tripper. Their five runs all came against Yank starter Roger Clemens, but while Herb Pennock relieved for three innings and Mariano for one, Seattle was held scoreless.
R H BB NY 000 510 000 - 6 10 0 SEA 010 202 000 - 5 7 4 HR: M. Mantle (11), K. Seager (7) starters IP R ER HR BB SO R. Clemens 5.0 5 5 1 4 4 E. Hanson 9.0 6 6 1 0 10 NY 20-14, SEA 18-17
May 13: New York 6, Seattle 2
Babe Ruth had the best day any better has had yet in the Rhubarb with a single, two doubles, a triple, and a dinger for the first cycle in league history.* The game was tighter than the final score indicates. After eight innings, it was a 2-2 affair. Starter Randy Johnson was still going in the top of the ninth, and got Mickey Mantle to popout, but then Lou Gehrig doubled, and manager Lou Piniella called on reliever Tom Wilhelmsen to try to keep the game tied. That didn’t go so well, as Wilhelmsen’s first batter, Joe DiMaggio, singled, then Ruth completed the cycle with a single, then Bernie Williams went yard.
Ichiro Suzuki singled three times, but was thrown out by Yogi Berra on two steal attempts.
R H BB NY 100 100 004 - 6 12 4 SEA 000 101 000 - 2 9 1 HR: B. Ruth (9), B. Williams (5) starters IP R ER HR BB SO W. Hoyt 7.0 2 1 0 1 5 R. Johnson 8.1 3 3 1 0 1 NY 21-14, SEA 18-18
*Somewhat surprisingly, the real life Babe never did hit for the cycle. He had three games that were a single short of the cycle, nine games a double short, 41 games a triple short, and seven games a homer short. As for total bases, Ruth had 12 in my above game. He had two real life games with 12 total bases, plus two games with 13 total bases—one of which came in only four plate appearances and during his time with the Boston Braves! The Babe hit three homers and a single in Pittsburgh, and was for some reason replaced in right field for the bottom of the seventh in a tie game that the Braves eventually lost. Ruth’s spot in the order came back around in the ninth.
May 14: New York 9, Seattle 5
And this one didn’t feel quite as close as the final score ended up. Through six and a half innings, the Yankees dominated 9-0. Felix Hernandez melted down in the third inning. Eight earned runs paraded around the bases against Felix before Piniella finally yanked him. He might have wished he’d gone to long reliever Mark Langston sooner after watching Langston hurl 6.1 strong innings the rest of the way.
Lou Gehrig continued the tit-for-tat homerun race with Mantle by blasting his 11th to take a share of the league lead. Backup outfielder Raul Ibanez homered in the seventh and eighth innings for Seattle in just his third game of the year.
R H BB NY 008 100 000 - 9 11 5 SEA 000 000 320 - 5 9 3 HR: L. Gehrig (11), D. Jeter (3), R. Ibanez-2 (2) starters IP R ER HR BB SO B. Shawkey 6.2 3 3 1 2 4 F. Hernandez 2.2 8 8 1 2 4 NY 22-14, SEA 18-19