A-Rod drove in two in the ninth with a home run, which was an absolute bomb by the way, to tie the game and sent it into extras. In the eleventh, Mark Teixeira hit a “wall scraper” to win the game down the left field line. Wow! What an exciting game but there is plenty more about this game that made it spectacular.
AJ Burnett and Nick Blackburn both threw outstanding games; Burnett went 6 innings and Blackburn went 5.2 each giving up a run. Burnett gave up five walks which could’ve led to some pretty bad happenings for the Yanks but he got out of it like both teams did over the course of the game. Blackburn gave up three hits and walked two while striking out three. Overall, the starters threw a pitchers duel that was exciting to watch. They always are, waiting to see who makes the first mistake that will cost them the game.
When Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke combined to throw a perfect seventh inning I thought the Yanks were gonna cruise to another win with the way the bullpen was pitching. Yeah right! Phil Hughes came in to pitch the eighth and that is where everything went wrong. He was chased after only getting two outs after he gave up two hits and a walk which led to two runs. It was a tough performance from Hughes and the Twins took the lead going into the final inning.
This is where I picked up the game on the radio on my way home from the movies with some friends. I figured out that the Yanks were down 3-1. It was killing me how the Yankees might end up losing to the Twins. It was terrible. But then it all happened. Mariano Rivera finished the eighth and got out of the ninth with no more damage. This was the time for the Yankees to hit there stride. And they did. Teixeira got on base and Alex Rodriguez brought him home with a bomb to the bullpen. The game was tied and we almost won it in the ninth too. Swish almost hit one but it was a few steps short of the wall.
In extras, it was pretty close with each team making their fair share of mistakes, pitching and fielding. In general, the pitching only made a few mistakes to let guys get hits but the biggest one was when the Twins’ Joe Nathan threw the ball to second to try and pick off Brett Gardner and he threw it into the outfield. Gardner shimmied over to third and was immediatley the number one priority for the Twins’ defense. But Gardner made a mistake too. On a line drive to the middle of the infield, Gardner took off towards home. But he didn’t realize it was hit right at Orlando Cabrera and Gardner was doubled off at third. That killed me.
The Yanks were unable to capitalize in the tenth but when Mark Teixeira came up in the eleventh, he came threw and hit a bullet down the the left field line that hit the top of the wall and bounced into the stands for the homer. The game was finally over and the Yankees won again. Just like I predicted they would. It was a great game that was not only going have every one on the edge of their seats, but it was key to the outcome of this series. Now the Yankees don’t necessarily have to win on the road they can have the comfort of playing another game at home if they are unable to win in Minnesota, which won’t be an easy task.
Hey, would you look at that… the Yankees and Red Sox are tied for first at the top of the AL East. It was as simple as that. The Yankees sweep the Tigers and continue to play well against the Orioles. At the same time, the Red Sox are slumping and all of a sudden the Yankees are right back at the top of the East. All we need is one more win and another Red Sox loss and we’ll be the sole leader of the division. It’s great. Well, last night’s victory is much thanks to Hideki Matsui (aka “Godzilla”).
Matsui stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at one. Jim Johnson on the mound, was looking to put the game into extras. But I think Matsui had different ideas. Early in the at bat, Matsui breaks his bat, leaving a small section from the bottom of the bat in Matsui’s right hand. It was a strange looking swing too, I might add. But he got a new bat and stepped back up to the plate. With his new bat, Matsui swung at a fastball middle in and demolished it to the right center bleachers. Right off the bat the crowd at Yankee Stadium erupted as they knew that “Godzilla” had returned. Matsui was regarded as “Godzilla” while in Japan as he hit many long home runs with a ton of power. The only thing about his nickname when he came to the Yankees is that the home run power wasn’t as dominant as it was in Japan. The name “Godzilla” wasn’t used very often but in times like this when he hits a walk off or even just a bomb here and there, “Godzilla” is the name of choice for Yankee fans.
Other than Matsui’s late game jack, defense played a huge part in this game. Mark Teixeira grounded a ball off the bat of Nick Markakis and fielded it a little bit awkwardly. He threw a sort of off balanced throw to Jose Molina at home and Molina, who had the wrong foot blocking home plate, swung his glove around in time to tag out the speedy Maicer Izturis. (Izturiz, who was on first when a hit and run was put on, ran with the pitch and slid into second, not knowing Brian Roberts had hit the ball. He then got up and started a slow walk back to first thinking the ball may be caught. When it wasn’t, he ran over to third but that is as far as he got. He should have scored but his baserunning error cost him and the O’s). Another great play at the plate came from Molina as well as Phil Coke who was on the mound. Now, usually a past ball is not a good thing but this one turned into a good thing. Coke threw one in the dirt and Molina went back to get it as the very speedy Brian Roberts was heading home. He threw to Coke who was covering the plate and Coke tagged out Roberts who never even touched the plate. Two amazing plays at the plate saved the tie for the Yankees and the game went into the ninth. You have to see the video because you can’t really understand how great these plays were. Here’s the link to the video.
So, the Yankees played a great overall game. Offensively, they were a little slow. The only run before Matsui’s homer was on an Eric Hinske homer. Same on the other side of the field. Only a Nick Markakis homer put the O’s on the board. So, other than the home runs, there was pretty much no offense on either side.
Pettitte pitched pretty well. He didn’t get the win though and that’s unfortunate since he deserved the win. The rest of the pitching was good as well. Aceves got the win as he pitched the ninth before Matsui’s homer. Here’s therest of the box score.
P.S. How ’bout that Kevin Millwood. Not only did he pitch great enough to stop the Red Sox, but he made two crazy snags against Dustin Pedroia who hit them right back to the mound. One he caught with his glove, but the second he snagged it with his bare hand. Very impressive.
Well, the Yank and Sox just ended a rivalry series but they are still in the news together. Both teams are involved in the top two interleague series’ taking place this weekend. The Yankees are playing the Mets in the first Subway Series this season, and the Red Sox are taking on the defending champs Phillies. Both great matchups. Both headline matchups. So far, the Yanks have taken the first game of the series with the Mets on a walk off. The cause of the walk off- an error by Luis Castillo. More on this later. Now the Red Sox were in no need of a walk off. They beat the Phils 5-2. They shut out one of the best hitters in baseball, Chase Utley, and overall dominated the Phils. So here we go.
Joba took the bump for the Yanks against Livan Hernandez who has been pitching very well for the Mets lately. He pitched all right through four innings of work. But at least we can say he pitched through three innings. The funny thing is, he only gave up one hit. But he gave up two runs. The reason for this is five walks. And all of you know how much I hate walks. So he gave up the two runs, but nothing to drastic. He also struck out three. He had a pretty good night despite only pitching through four. And when a pitcher comes out early, I always get worried because we have to give it up to the bullpen. And that hasn’t exactly worked out that well for us most of the season.
Brett Tomko was the first to come out from the ‘pen and he caused the most damage of all. He gave up four runs on three hits and two walks. He gave up a homer to Gary Sheffield that drove in two of the runs he gave up. He only pitched .2 of an inning so it’s even worse that he gave up so much in such a little time.
Dave Robertson came in and pitched 1.1 innings. He gave up one hit, one walk, one run, and had three strikeouts. Not terrible but we needed him to hold them to no runs. That would have been better. Phil Coke came in to relieve Robertson and pitched 1.2 innings of perfect ball. He gave up nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. You get the idea. Then he was relieved by Mariano Rivera who was in for the last out of the eighth. And things went pretty bad for him.
Rivera came in and gave up a hit and a walk that would lead to a run to tie the game for the Mets. This was not what I expected from Rivera at all. Well, I was wrong, obviously. He did strike out two so the one run was all they got. It was all up to the Yanks offense now. Rivera pitched a good ninth and the game was still tied.
The Yanks then came up to the plate to first face Pedro Feliciano. HE got one out and handed it over to Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod if you will. He is the one who had problems. Not often found from K-Rod. He gave up a hit and a walk and then, everything went wrong for the Mets. A-Rod came up to bat and popped it up to Luis Castillo. The Mets second baseman dropped the ball and two runs scored. The Yanks took the game on an improbable play. A walk off not often seen but it happened and the Yanks got the win. It was a great way to end and exciting and pant wetter of a game. Way to go Yanks. Luis Castillo- sorry it had to happen to you.
A win for the Yanks has been scarce over the last few games. They were swept by the Sox and that just made it even worse. But this win over another rival must boost their confidence. We need to get some more wins and hope the Phils can get it done against the Red Sox. We are currently 2 game back of the Sox who are in first. Hopefully we can get some more wins against the Mets to make up for the sweep from the Red Sox.