Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Melky Magic Not Quite Enough

When Melky Cabrera redirected a Brad Lidge fastball back up the middle to score Ramiro Pena and tie the game in the ninth inning, it seemed as though there was room for another walk-off this homestand. It was even more realistic of a possibility in the 10th inning, when Jeter and Damon were standing on first and second with no one out. 

Mark Teixeira came to the plate with two hits already, one of which was a broken bat home run. This was the first of it's kind I have seen; Teix was left holding just a shard of maple in his hand while the ball carried the wall and nearly into left field bleachers. 

There were warnings of a strong wind blowing out to left, but that's still a pretty super-human act. Unfortunately, that would be the last of his heroics for the day, as Clay Condrey got Teix to ground into a double play and effectively killed the threat in the 10th. Girardi neither double stole Jeter and Damon, nor started them on the 3-2 count, both of which would have likely kept the Yanks from suffering a inopportune twin killing.

Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless 10th frame but was removed in favor of Brett Tomko in the 11th. Girardi was willing to use Mo for more than three outs even after the game turned into a blowout on Thursday night, but with the game on the line today, opted not to.

Tomko got two quick outs, but gave up a walk to Chase Utley what would turn out to be a game winning double to Carlos Ruiz. Despite only playing in two games this series, Ruiz reached base 9 times (6H, 3BB) and drove in three runs. He was also at the plate for both of Johnny Damon's ill fated attempts to score, in the first inning on Friday night, and during the third today.

That run would prove to be important as both starting pitchers held up their end of the bargain and made crossing the plate difficult. Hamels went 6 innings and surrendered 2ER while Sabathia lasted 8 but gave up 3. 

After the Phillies took the lead in the 11th, the Yanks went down quietly in the bottom half of the frame, and leveled their record in extra innings this year to 3-3. Had the Yanks managed to score first in extras, it would have been their 5th walk off win in the 10 game homestand, but as it stands, they went 8-2, and picked up 3.5 games in the standings. Despite losing all five games against the Red Sox this year, the Yanks trail them for the division lead by only one game. 

The Yankees embark on a seven game road trip tomorrow, which will take them through Cleveland via Texas. The Rangers are a surprising 26-17 while the Indians are a disappointing 17-28. The Bombers won't have to worry about any of those momentum-killing off days, as they only have one in their next 19 games (this Thursday), which includes series against the Red Sox and Mets.

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