Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Three Two To Ones

For the third day in a row the Yankees won a game by the score of 2-1. They are the first games of the year the Yanks have won while scoring two or fewer runs and they'd only notched two victories while scoring 3 runs or fewer before the All-Star Break. The odds of matching up a great pitching performance like the one put together by Andy Pettitte and the bullpen tonight to cover a weak offensive output are slim, and during the first few innings, it looked like the match-up was headed in an entirely different direction.

The first batter of the game, Brian Roberts, lofted a deep fly ball into the left field corner which barely stayed in the park. Up next, Nick Markakis blasted one into the home bullpen to make the score 1-0. The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the first, but David Hernandez won a 9 pitch battle with Robinson Cano to end the inning. They got on the board soon thereafter, though, with a solo shot by Eric Hinkse in the bottom of the second.

Despite the exciting start, the offenses stalled out.

Both Pettitte and Hernandez found their stride and cruised through the middle innings. Allowing three hits and three walks, Herdandez went six frames but threw 103 pitches, due in part to the 35 it took him to get out of the first. Pettitte gave up 6 hits, but compensated with two double plays and a season-high 8 strikeouts. He left mess in the 8th inning for Phil Coke to clean up, though.

With one out and men on second and third, Nick Markakis lined Coke's first pitch to Mark Teixeira, who fired an off balance throw to Jose Molina with Caesar Izturus heading towards the plate. Molina grabbed the throw across this body, and swept a tag towards the plate, just barely in front of the runner. The ball was nearly falling out of his glove, but he trapped it against the ground as Izturus' foot nearly knocked it out. Brain Roberts advanced to third on the play.

Facing Adam Jones, Coke uncorked a wild pitch past Molina, but the veteran catcher quickly tracked and down and fired to Coke covering the plate, who tagged Roberts on an extra wide slide towards home. Two pitches, two fantastic defensive plays, and the lead was preserved.

With it apparent that both Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes were likely unavailable, it wasn't clear who Girardi would call on to get big outs in the game. After Coke may or may not have hit Adam Jones with a pitch and got Aubrey Huff to fly out to center, our boy Alf was summoned from the 'pen to keep the game tied. Aceves got Melvin Mora to fly out to center and intentionally walked Luke Scott, before rookie Nolan Riemold flied to left for the third out.

A-Rod had the first chance to end the game in the bottom of the 9th, but he hit a flare right at Brain Roberts who had him played nearly straight away, behind second base. Hideki Matsui was next up. He took the first two pitches for balls, fouled the next three off and took the sixth one to the right field bleachers for a walk off HR.

It was the Yankees' 9th such victory this year (and 8th subsequent pie in the face - see comments) and it moved them to 15-11 in one run games. It's thanks to games like this that the Yanks continue to outperform their run differential and are now tied for first place in the AL East for the fifth separate time this season despite having gone just 16-17 within the division.


  1. Actually only 8 pies in the face. They did not offer one to A-Rod after his walk off pop up to Luis Castillo.

  2. Good call, thanks. Updated.