Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Charmer Under Me

Well I hoped you've enjoyed reeling in the years today, looking back at the first four World Series contested between the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. I knew heading into this that recapping all eleven series would be a bit arduous, and it's proving to be a bit more time consuming than I thought. I had hoped to get through the fifties today, but it just wasn't in the cards. Still, tomorrow's a new day and we have another off day on the other side of the weekend to do it again.

Meanwhile, tonight's an off night. So while I do some dirty work, refreshing my memory on the '53, '55, and '56 World Series, see if you can't go out and buy yourself a thrill. Or do something fun. We'll see you in the morning.

And in the event you didn't get enough Brooklyn today, here's a little Steely Dan for you:

1952 World Series


It would be three years before the Yankees and Dodgers resumed their autumnal rivalry. In the two seasons between the Yankees won two more titles, beating the Phillies in 1950 and winning a Subway Series against the Giants in '51. The Big Three of Reynolds, Raschi, and Lopat still fronted the rotation, but '47 and '49 hero Joe Page was gone as the fireman, replaced by veteran Johnny Sain. On the offensive side, the Yankees had just completed their first season without Joe DiMaggio, but hadn't really skipped a beat. Yogi Berra was still the best catcher in the league, Gene Woodling and Hank Bauer had outstanding seasons, and DiMaggio's replacement, Mickey Mantle - not yet 21, had emerged as one of the best players in the game in just his second season.

The Dodgers had the same core as they did in '49, and once again were an offense heavy team. With Don Newcombe serving in the military and Preacher Roe transitioning to crafty veteran, youngsters Carl Erskine and Billy Loes took over at the front of the rotation.

For the first time in their four World Series meetings, the Series began at Ebbets Field. Allie Reynolds got the Game One start, just as he did in '49. There would be no shutout this time though, as the Dodgers pushed three across against him, and one more against reliever Ray Scarborough to take a 4-2 victory. Joe Black went the distance for Brooklyn, surrendering a solo home run to Gil McDougald. Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Duke Snider all homered for Brooklyn.

The Yankees pulled even in Game Two, plating five against Erskine in as many innings and tacking on two more against Loes in relief. Billy Martin was the offensive star for the Yankees, going two for four with a homer and four RBIs. It wouldn't be his only big moment of the Series. Raschi went all nine, allowing eight baserunners and one run, with nine strikeouts.

Game Three was a matchup of veteran lefties as Eddie Lopat went against Preacher Roe. Roe got the better of the deal, as the Dodgers won 5-3. Berra and Johnny Mize hit homers for the Yankees in the losing effort.

Game Four saw the Yankees even the Series again. Stengel gave the ball to Reynolds on two days rest, and the Yankee ace responded by tossing a four hit, three walk shutout, with 10 Ks. The Yankee offense came courtesy of another Mize solo homer and a Mickey Mantle triple in combination with an error by Pee Wee Reese on the relay throw.

The Series reduced to a best of three, the Yankees gave the ball to Ewell Blackwell for Game Five. Blackwell had outstanding seasons with the Reds in '47 and '50, but was suffering through a miserable 1952. Despite that, he still fetched a package of four players and $35,000 when the Yankees traded for him at the end of August. The Whip, as he was called, spotted the Dodgers to a 4-0 lead through five innings and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom half. The Yankees took the lead with a five run fifth, capped by a three run homer from Mize, his third of the series.

Sain took over for Blackwell, and allowed the Dodgers to tie the score at five thanks to a Duke Snider RBI single in the seventh. The score remained that way into the eleventh, when Snider doubled in the go-ahead run. Erskine retired the heart of the Yankee lineup in order in the bottom half, earning himself a hard fought, eleven inning complete game victory, and placing the Dodgers just a win away from their first championship.

With their backs against the wall and the Series shifting back to Brooklyn, the Yankees turned to Raschi for Game Six. He and Loes matched zeroes for five and a half frames, then Snider gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth. Berra tied the score the next inning with a solo homer of his own, then Raschi gave the Yankees the lead by singling Woodling home. Mantle led off the eighth with a solo homer, the first of his record 18 in World Series play, to make it 3-1. Snider homered again in the bottom half to make it a one run game, and when a two out double by George Shuba put the tying run in scoring position, Stengel went to Reynolds again. Super Chief got Campanella to strike out to end the threat, and worked around a ninth inning walk to push the Series to Game Seven.

Thanks to his inning plus of relief the day before, Reynolds did got the Game Seven start. Instead, Stengel handed the ball to Lopat, the losing pitcher in Game Three. Brooklyn countered with Game One winner Joe Black. The game was scoreless through three, then the Yankees struck first with an RBI single from Mize in the fourth. The Dodgers loaded the bases with three consecutive singles, the last two of them bunts, to start the bottom of the fourth. Stengel called on Reynolds to get out of the jam. He retired the next three batters in order, but one of the outs was a sacrifice fly to tie the score at one.

The teams matched runs again in the fifth, courtesty of a Gene Woodling solo homer for the Yankees and an RBI single from Reese for Brooklyn. Over the next two innings, the Yankees continued building their picket fence, as Mickey Mantle's solo homer in the sixth and RBI single in the seventh gave them four consecutive one spots and a 4-2 lead.

With Reynolds having been lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh, Raschi took the mound on zero days rest to start the bottom half. He issued a leadoff walk to Carl Furillo, got Rocky Nelson to pop to short for the first out, then loaded the bases with a Billy Cox single and another walk to Reese. With the season on the line and the red hot lefty Duke Snider due, Stengel again went to the pen, summoning journeyman southpaw Bob Kuzava.

Kuzava had bounced from Cleveland to Chicago to Washington when the Yankees acquired him in mid 1951. He did outstanding as a swingman down the stretch that year, going 8-4 with a 2.40 ERA. In the same role in 1952 he had taken a bit of step back, his record falling to .500 and his ERA dropping just below league average, but outside of Sain, he was Stengel's most trusted bullpen arm. Even so, he hadn't appeared in any of the '52 Series' first six games.

Snider dug in at 10 for 28 in the Series, with four home runs. A base hit would tie the game, an extra base hit could very well hand the Dodgers the lead. Kuzava induced a popout to third for the second out of the inning, but the equally dangerous Jackie Robinson was the next batter. With Sain available in the pen, Stengel elected to stick with the lefty Kuzava. He induced another pop up, this one to shallow second base. In the late day sun, none of the Yankee infielders made an initial move for the ball. With two outs, the runners were off on contact, racing around the bases as the ball fell closer and closer to the infield grass. With the ball less the a few feet from the ground, Billy Martin came racing in from the infield dirt, making a shoe string catch to end the rally and preserve the lead.

After his Houdini act in the seventh, Stengel left Kuzava in the rest of the way. He worked around a one out error in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to hand the Yankees their fourth consecutive championship, tying the record set by the '36 through '39 Yankees.

1949 World Series

We continue our look at the eleven World Series contested between the Yankees and Dodgers, with the 1949 Fall Classic. Things weren't about to get any better for Dem Bums.


Both clubs entered the Fall Classic coming off furious pennant races. With four games remaining in the season, the Dodgers trailed the Cardinals by a game and a half. On the final Thursday of the season the Dodgers swept a doubleheader against the Braves while the Cardinals dropped their game to the Pirates. It put the Dodgers up a half game, and another loss by the Cardinals on the Dodgers' Friday off day ran the lead to a full game. Both clubs lost on Saturday, then won on Sunday, giving the Dodgers the flag by a single game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees entered the season's final weekend trailing Boston by a game. The Red Sox needed to win just one of the two games at Yankee Stadium to clinch the pennant. Instead, the Yankees swept, capturing their fifth AL Pennant of the decade and setting up a third World Series against the Dodgers.

Brooklyn once again carried a potent offense into the Series, led by Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Carl Furillo, and Duke Snider, but without an easy out anywhere in the lineup. The pitching staff was fronted Don Newcombe and Preacher Roe. Meanwhile the Yankees were once again led by Joe DiMaggio, who despite missing half the season with a heel injury, had one of the finest seasons of his career. He was supported by trusty veteran Tommy Henrich, shifted fom right field to first base, and emerging slugger Yogi Berra.

The Yankee roster had seen some turnover since their last meeting just two years prior. Casey Stengel was at the helm, having replaced Bucky Harris following the 1948 season. Youngsters Gene Woodling and Hank Bauer had replaced Henrich and Charlie Keller as DiMaggio's flanks in the outfield, and the hodgepodge pitching staff that led the team to victory in '47 had morphed into the reliable starting trio of Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, and Eddie Lopat.

As it had in both '41 and '47, the Series began at Yankee Stadium. The 66,000 plus in attendance that Wednesday afternoon were treated to one of the great pitching duels in World Series history. Reynolds and Newcombe matched zeros for eight innings, Reynolds allowing just two hits and four walks with nine K's, Newcombe five hits and no free passes with 11 K's. Reynolds retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth, and Old Reliable Henrich led off the bottom half with a game winning home run.

Game Two was an equally compelling pitchers duel, with Raschi squaring off against Roe. Jackie Robinson led off the second inning with a double, and came around to score on a Gil Hodges single. It was the only run Raschi allowed before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth, but it was one too many, as the Yankees came out on the short end of another 1-0 final score.

As the series shifted to Ebbets Field for Game Three, whatever momentum the Dodgers gained in Game Two was left in the Bronx. The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the third, as a sacrifice fly from Phil Rizzuto scored Cliff Mapes. Brooklyn pulled even in the fourth thanks to a leadoff home run from Pee Wee Reese. Yankee starter Tommy Byrne, given the Game Three nod over Lopat, had an effective '49, winning fifteen games and posting an ERA 10% better than league average. But as it was throughout his career, Bynre's control was spotty. He issued a league leading 179 walks in '49, his first of three consecutive years leading the AL in free passes. His control hurt him again in that fourth inning, as a single and back-to-back walks left Byrne in a bases loaded, one out jam after the Reese homer.

Sensing the game was about to slip away, Stengel gave Byrne the hook, and handed the ball to fireman Joe Page. In spite of his Game Six implosion two years earlier, Page saved the Yankees bacon three times in the '47 Series, tossing twelve innings of two run ball in closing out Games One, Three, and Seven. Page came through again here, cleaning up Byrne's mess and keeping the Dodgers off the board through the eighth.

Heading into the ninth the game was still tied. With the bases loaded and two outs, Stengel sent Johnny Mize up to pinch hit for Mapes. Mize's two run single gave the Yankees the lead and chased Dodger starter Ralph Branca. Jerry Coleman followed with an RBI single, plating what would become an important insurance run. With a three run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Page, in his sixth inning of relief, finally flinched. Solo homers by Luis Olmo and Campanella pulled the Dodgers within one, but Page fanned pinch hitter Bruce Edwards to give the Yankees a two games to one lead.

Game Four wouldn't be quite as dramatic. The Dodgers brought back Newcombe on just two days rest, and the Yankees touched him up for three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings., behind a two RBI double from Mapes, an RBI double from starter Eddie Lopat, and a three run triple from Bobby Brown. Lopat cruised into the sixth, but got into trouble with two outs, allowing five straight singles to cut the lead to 6-4. Stengel yanked Lopat and handed the ball to his Game One starter. Allie Reynolds was perfect over three and a third innings of relief, striking out five and pushing the Dodgers to the brink.

The Yankees sucked all the drama out of Game Five early, scoring two in the first and three in the third to take a 5-0 lead. The Dodgers got one back in the third, but the Yankees responded with five more runs over the middle three stanzas. Raschi got in a jam in the seventh, allowing four Dodger runs to make it 10-6 Yankees, but Page came on to get the final seven outs and give the Yankees their fourth World Series victory of the forties, three of them over the Dodgers.

1941 & 1947 World Series

Good morning Fackers. The Yankees have just wrapped a series against the Diamondbacks, a team the Bombers faced in one very memorable World Series. I have mixed emotions about that series. The heroics of Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, and Scott Brosius won't soon be forgotten. An equally momentous longball from Alfonso Soriano is all but forgotten thanks to what happened after it, but I still remember it fondly. And the Yankees' run through the entirety of that postseason will always be memorable because of what was going on in the city around them at the time. But in the end, that Series will be remembered for its painful conclusion. And given the youth of the Diamondbacks' franchise and the lack of history between the two clubs, interleague series such as this week's will always conjure up bitter memories.

After today's off day however, the Yankees will begin an interleague series against a franchise with whom they have far, far more history. And those memories are much more pleasant than those against Arizona.

The Yankees and Dodgers have faced each other in eleven World Series, far and away the most frequent match up in the 105 Fall Classics played. In fact, even if you were to discount their four October meetings after the Dodgers moved west, the seven Subway Series between the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers would still be the most common pairing in World Series history. The Tigers, Reds, Braves, Pirates, Orioles, Phillies, Twins, White Sox, and Indians - all in existence since the first World Series in 1903 - have all appeared in fewer World Series than there have been Yankee-Dodger match ups.

Having Thursday off in advance of the weekend series gives us a little time and space to fill. As such, we're going to attempt to give at least a cursory overview of all eleven Fall Classics between the Yankees and Dodgers. We'll start in this very post with the first two Subway Series between the clubs and go on from there.


1941 marked the fifth Yankee pennant in a six year period, and their twelfth in twenty one years. During that time they faced the cross-town Giants five times, but never once squared off against the Dodgers despite both leagues consisting of just eight teams. Prior to 1941, the Dodgers had last reached the Fall Classic in 1920, when they were still know as the Robins. The following year they would begin a twenty one season World Series drought. At the same time, the Yankees would win the first of three consecutive pennants, playing Subway Series against the Giants each time.

The Dodgers, under the tutelage of former Yankee infielder Leo Durocher, won the NL by 2.5 games over the Cardinals. They featured a potent offensive attack led by slugging first baseman Dolph Camilli and outfielders Pete Reiser, Dixie Walker, and Ducky Medwick. Meanwhile, the Yankees featured a balanced attack with future Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Joe Gordon, and the rookie Phil Rizzuto on offense, and Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez on the mound.

The Series began at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday October 1st. The Yankees cruised to a 3-2 victory behind a complete game from Ruffing. They never trailed, with Joe Gordon driving in two of the runs, one of them on a solo homer. Charlie Keller scored the other two runs with Bill Dickey adding two hits and picking up the remaining RBI. Ruffing allowed just nine base runners and fanned five, with one of the runs being unearned thanks to a Rizzuto error.

The Dodgers evened things up in Game Two, overcoming an early two run deficit to beat Spud Chandler 3-2. The winning run was unearned, courtesy of a Joe Gordon error.

From there the Yankees took over the Series. After playing seven scoreless innings in Game Three, in the eighth Joe DiMaggio drove home Red Rolfe, then Keller plated Tommy Henrich. Yankee starter and Brooklyn native Marius Russo gave one back in the bottom half, but it was the only blemish on his record as he went the distance for a 2-1 victory.

The Dodgers were poised to tie the Series in Game Four, as they carried a 4-3 lead into the top of the ninth inning. Dodger pitcher Hugh Casey retired the first two batters to put the Dodgers within an out of making the Series a best of three. Tommy Henrich was the Yankees last hope, and he went down swinging. It would have ended the game, but in one of the more notorious moments in World Series history, Dodger catcher Mickey Owen couldn't squeeze strike three. Henrich raced to first and the rally was on. DiMaggio followed with a single, then Keller doubled them both home to give the Yankees the lead. Dickey followed with a walk, the Gordon doubled both runners home to make it 7-4. Yankee fireman Johnny Murphy worked a flawless bottom half of the inning to push the Dodgers to the brink.

Their season died at Ebbets Field the very next day. Once again, the Dodgers helped squander the game, as a third inning wild pitch from Whit Wyatt allowed Keller to score the game's first run and Dickey to move into scoring position. Gordon promptly drove him in, to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. The Dodgers got one back off Tiny Bonham in the third, but it would be their only offense on the day. Bonham went the distance, allowing only six men to reach base. A Tommy Henrich solo shot in the fifth iced the game, and the Yankees clinched their fifth championship in the last six seasons, and their ninth overall.

The World Series MVP award was first issued in 1955, but had it existed in 1941 it surely would have gone to Gordon. The second baseman hit .500/.667/.929 over 21 PA, with one of only three home runs in the Series and a series leading 5 RBI and 7 BB. Charlie Keller (.389/.476/.500, 5 RBI) also had an outstanding Series.


Two months after the conclusion of the 1941 World Series, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into the Second World War. American life was severely altered for the better part of five years, and Major League Baseball was far from immune to the changes. Several prominent players, and many Yankees, lost years serving in the armed forces. The Yankees picked up two more pennants and another championship during the war years, but it was with players,and against competition, that were diminished. Many players began returning to action in 1946, but it wasn't until 1947, when the war was over in both theaters, that things began to return to normal in MLB.

Just as they had in the final pre-WWII season, the Yankees and Dodgers met in the World Series for the first post-WWII. Though only six years had passed, much had changed with the two clubs. Gone were Hall of Fame managers Leo Durocher and Joe McCarthy. Durocher had been issued a season-long suspension for associating with gamblers, and was replaced by Burt Shotton. McCarthy had resigned during the '46 season, and after finishing the year under interim managers Bill Dickey and Johnny Neun, the Yankees had hired longtime Senators manager Bucky Harris.

In many ways it was a transitional year for both clubs, and not just in returning to normalcy after the war. Shotton was intended to be just a stopgap while Durocher served his suspension. Durocher returned in '48 for a ninth season as Dodgers skipper, but he would last only half a season before being replaced again by Shotton and heading across town for eight years at the helm of the Giants. Meanwhile, after fifteen and a half dynastic years under McCarthy, the Yankees were seeking stability after the chaos of three different managers in '46. Harris was supposed to be the steady hand, but he would last only two years in the Bronx before giving way to Casey Stengel and the next Yankee dynasty.

Yet as the two clubs opened the Series at Yankee Stadium on September 30th, no one knew of the sweeping changes that would come over the next year plus. Rookie Spec Shea got the ball for the Yankees. The Naugatuck Nugget spotted the Dodgers to a first inning 1-0 lead, but the Yankees struck back with five of their own in the fifth, on strength of a two run double from Johnny Lindell, a bases loaded walk from Bobby Brown, and a two run single from Tommy Henrich. Armed with a lead, Harris summoned fireman Joe Page to pitch the final four innings. Brooklyn scratched out single runs in the sixth and seventh, but would get no closer as the Yanks took the opener 5-3.

In Game Two Allie Reynolds made the first of his fifteen World Series appearances with the Yankees. Acquired for 1941 World Series hero Joe Gordon after the '46 season, the Super Chief went the distance, scattering nine hits, three walks, and allowing three runs while striking out six. The Yankees scored in six of their eight innings, pounded out ten runs on fifteen hits, and got multi-hit games from Henrich, Lindell, Snuffy Stirnweiss, George McQuinn, Billy Johnson, and even Reynolds.

Brooklyn got in the win column in a Game Three slugfest, winning 9-8. Yankee starter Bobo Newsome, and relievers Vic Rashci, Karl Drews, and Spud Chandler all got knocked around until Page shut the door for the final three innings. Dodger pitchers Joe Hattan and Ralph Branca weren't much better, but they did enough to withstand the Yankee offensive, which included home runs from Joe DiMaggio, and a youngster named Yogi Berra, playing in just the third of his record 75 World Series games.

Game Four saw Brooklyn even the series at two with a 3-2 walkoff victory, but the lasting story of the game was the tough luck loss for Yankee starter Bill Bevens. Bevens flirted with history, carrying a no-hitter into the ninth inning. He had surrendered a run on walks, a sacrifice, and a fielders choice in the fifth, but carried a 2-1 lead into the final frame on the strength of a bases loaded walk from DiMaggio and yet another RBI double from Lindell. Things went awry for Bevens on his way to making history though. After retiring the leadoff batter, he issued a walk to Carl Furillo. After getting the second out, pinch runner Al Gionfriddo stole second, prompting the Yankees to intentionally walk the winning run to first base. Bad idea. Cookie Lavagetto followed with a double, the first hit surrendered by Bevens all day, and the Dodgers walked off with a best of three looming.

The Yankees took control once again with a Game Five victory. Shea pitched with moxie that belied his inexperience, going the distance with seven strikeouts and just one run allowed. He also chipped in with an RBI single, and that combined with a Joe DiMaggio solo homer gave the Yanks a 2-1 victory.

Back at Yankee Stadium for Game Six, Brooklyn again pulled even in another slugfest. The Yankees burned through six pitchers in trying to close out the Dodgers, but a four run sixth was enough to propel Brooklyn to an 8-6 victory. Trailing 8-5 in the bottom of the sixth, Joe DiMaggio came to the plate with two outs and two on. He blasted one deep into Death Valley, a would-be game tying home run, but Gionfriddo made a running, lunging catch on the warning track. DiMaggio kicked at the dirt as he approached second base, perhaps his only outward display of frustration in his entire career.

With the entire season riding on one game, and the pitching staff decimated by the previous day's slugfest, the Yankees were in need of starter for Game Seven. On just a day's rest, Shea took the ball for the third time in the Series. He got the Yankees through the first, but when he got into a jam in the second, Harris wasted no time in going to Bevens. The Dodgers pushed two across to take the lead. An RBI single from Phil Rizzuto in the bottom of the inning cut the lead in half. Bevens held the fort through the third and fourth, and the Yankees plated two in the bottom of the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.

Given the lead, Harris went right to Page, despite his getting touched up for four runs in one inning the day before. Page rewarded Harris' trust by finishing the final five frames, allowing just one hit. For the second time in seven years the Yankees had beaten the Dodgers in the World Series. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, it was only the beginning of the heartbreak.

Game 72 LOLcap

[WE data via FanGraphs]

Right out of the gate, last night's game had the feeling of one that would turn into an utter shitshow. It was exceedingly clear that Dontrelle Willis wasn't able to throw strikes when he walked Derek Jeter on four pitches and then allowed him to advance to second on a wild pitch in the process of going 3-1 on Nick Swisher. Swish singled to bring home the run and but when Willis ran the count full against Mark Teixeira, he left first too early and was picked off without even really trying to steal.

Teixeira walked on the next pitch and Alex Rodriguez watched four more balls fly by, the last of which went behind his ankles. That put runners on first and second for Robinson Cano who Willis proceeded to throw three straight balls to.

Just to review, at this point, Dontrelle had thrown 23 pitches and 18 of them were taken out of the strike zone. Not many of them were especially close. Cano was content to watch two fastballs slip in for strikes but swung at missed at the 3-2 pitch that was probably out of the zone. That's excusable, but Mark Teixeira got caught stealing third base to end the inning, which totally wasn't. The Yankees let a guy who threw more than twice as many balls as strikes in an inning escape with only one run allowed because they handed him two outs on the bases.

After that blown chance, Javy Vazquez started off the second by going walk-single-walk-single but was saved from allowing a run when the D-Backs third base coach attempted to make a late hold and left Kelly Johnson stranded on the way to home. Vazquez, who only had a little more control than Willis, then walked Miguel Montero to load the bases and after running the count full, gave up a two out, two run single to Adam LaRoche to put Arizona ahead 2-1.

Unfortunately, the horrible play didn't end there. Here's just a sampling of some of the other garbage that went down.
  • Despite the fact that Willis obviously couldn't throw strikes, Francisco Cervelli bunted to lead off the second. MAKE HIM THROW THE BALL OVER THE PLATE FOR FUCK'S SAKE.

  • Willis' seventh walk came with the bases loaded with one out in the third inning. However, the Yankees only scored one run that frame because Willis' replacement, Blaine Boyer, got Robinson Cano (the first batter he faced) to hit into an inning-ending double play.

  • That was one of five DPs for the Yankees.

  • Even with all of those twin killings, there were a total of 19 men left on base - 11 for the Yanks and 8 for the D-Backs - and the Bombers were 3/14 with runners in scoring position.

  • The Yankees worked 13 walks, two of which were by Javy Vazquez.

  • Javy eventually found the strikezone, but was done after five innings having given up four runs and with no chance to win the game.

  • With two men on and one out in the fifth, Robinson Cano ripped a line drive to left but it Gerardo Parra made an incredible diving snag and got up in time to throw A-Rod out at first, ending the inning. Two of them weren't entirely his fault, but he was a part of three different inning-ending DPs.

  • Damaso Marte was called for a balk in the sixth and then uncorked a wild pitch that put the go-ahead run on third with one out, and allowed him to score in the next at bat.
Despite the Snakes' best efforts to give it away, the Yanks were behind in this one until the ninth inning when Aaron Heilman began the frame with two walks. Teix moved the runners over with a grounder and A-Rod lofted the game-tying sac fly. With the opposing bullpen depleted and the game within striking distance, Joe Girardi went to Mariano Rivera, who worked a scoreless bottom half of the ninth.

Curtis Granderson led off the top of the 10th with a homer to right, so when Rivera's spot came up four batter's later, he made the plate appearance so that he could come back for his first two inning save this year.

Mo grounded out to first in his AB and immediately got into trouble in the bottom of the 10th. Clinging to a one run lead, he gave up a looping single to Stephen Drew and double down the left field line to Justin Upton. He then intentionally walked Montero to put a force at every base and the D-Backs looked to be in position to steal this one back. However, Rivera got Chris Young to pop out to the catcher, jammed Adam LaRoche in on his hands so that he skied it to third and struck out Mark Reynolds swinging to end the game.

After the game Mo really hit the nail on the head, saying:
We pulled this game [out] but we played horrible. It's unacceptable, the way that we played. We can't be playing games like that, you know? We are better than that, we are supposed to do what's right in baseball.
Oddly, it was a bit like the US Soccer Team's game in the World Cup. They blew an ungodly amount of opportunities but came back just in the nick of time and escaped by the skin of their teeth.

It was four hours and seven minutes long and uglier than Don Mossi, but at least the Yankees won. And not only did they win, but for the second night in a row, everyone else in the division lost, so they lead the Rays and Sawx by 2.5 games each.

Today is an off day before the team heads out to L.A. to meet up with old friends Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, Larry Bowa, Manny Ramirez and the rest of the Dodgers. Stay tuned for some posts about the history between the two teams today and tomorrow.