Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yanks Trot Out Hangover Lineup, Still Beat Royals

Despite the hour and 56 minute rain delay and the fact that the Yankees played only three members of their starting lineup (Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, and Melky Cabrera/Brett Gardner), the Bombers not only managed to keep the game interesting for the first six and a half innings, but also to blow it open in the bottom of the seventh.

Chad Gaudin bolstered his case for the postseason roster, again delivering an effective start. This time, he began by allowing only three baserunners over four scoreless innings, at one point retiring consecutive eight batters.

The Yankees led off the bottom of the fourth with three straight hits, a double by Robinson Cano, a single by Jorge Posada and an RBI base knock by Eric Hinske to put the Yanks up 1-0. The Royals struck back immediately when Mark Teahen led off the top of the 5th with a solo shot and tied it up.

Ramiro Pena countered with a solo home run of his own in the bottom half of the inning after Frankie Cervelli singled and was erased on a caught stealing (which was really a botched hit and run). Upon returning to the dugout, Pena received the silent treatment (giddily orchestrated by A-Rod) on a night when he might have actually believed that no one noticed it was the first homer of his career. Cliff from Bronx Banter has the details.

Gaudin gave up the lead once more on a sac fly to Mike Jacobs in the sixth but again, the Yanks snatched it back, this time on a single by Shelly Duncan. Duncan was pinch ran for by Freddy Guzman, who promptly stole second base on the very next pitch although the Royals were clearly expecting it, which is a necessary skill for a guy who is looking to make the postseason 25-man pretty much exclusively as a pinch runner.

Despite retiring the first two men in the 7th inning in order and having thrown only 92 pitches, Joe Girardi once again replaced Gaudin by calling on Damaso Marte to get one out - lefty Alex Gordon.

Trey Hillman took the exact opposite tact in the bottom half of the inning, leaving his starter, Luke Hochevar in, despite having allowed a run in the frame and then loading the bases with no one out. Robinson Cano stepped to the plate against the righty and took full advantage by smashing his second career grand slam and putting the game well out of the reach of the crew from KC.

Alfredo Aceves closed out the night with two perfect innings and the Yanks took a game that they wouldn't have minded giving away. They might not have been the top talent, but guys they sent out there didn't just roll over. Credit Chad Gaudin with a pretty solid performance, Robinson Cano for delivering with the bases loaded but most of all, the Royals for, well, still being the Royals.

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