White Sox 7 Yankees 6; Joba’s First Loss; Costly Rain

Bothersome loss tonight, with Joba suffering his first career loss in the ninth. The game’s second rain delay cost the Yankees Hughes after two innings, expiring most of the Yankees’ bullpen before heading to Cleveland for a four-game series. Ohlendorf wasn’t good, getting blasted for five runs in the fourth to blow a 3-0 lead. It’s hard to complain about a series win against a division leader, but this could also have been a sweep.

Both Hughes and White Sox starter Gavin Floyd rolled through two, with Hughes getting a five-pitch second that ended with a Pierzynski DP. The Yankees scored three in the third. Giambi singled and took second on a wild pitch. Melky walked and, with one out, Damon walked to load the bases. Jeter hit a liner to right, and Giambi actually wisely tagged up and beat an off-line throw from Dye, sliding around Pierzynksi, 1-0 Yankees. A good throw woulds surely have nabbed Giambi. Abreu doubled off the top of the wall in left-center to score Melky and Damon, 3-0. But the Sox IBB’d Matsui to retire Ensberg on a 5-4 force. How big in retrospect was Abreu’s missing a homer by a foot? All things being equal, that’s Mariano closing in the 9th with a lead.

Instead, the rain delay came, depriving the Yankees of Hughes since Girardi didn’t want Hughes to warm up again. Instead, Ohlendorf entered and had a 1-2-3 third, but coughed it up in the fourth. Swisher popped out, Cabrera singled, Thome worked a walk, Konerko singled 3-1 Yankees, Dye singled to left 3-2, Pierzynski doubled to right to tie it, and Quentin’s FC gave the White Sox the lead 4-3. Ensberg made a poor throw home, both because it was off-line but also because he threw it on his heels, getting little on it. After Crede’s fly out Ramirez hit a ground-rule double just inside the line to right to make it 5-3.

The Yankees got Damon aboard to start the fifth with a lead-off walk and steal, but there he was stranded. The Sox meanwhile made it 6-3 with Thome homering off Hawkins. The Yanks closed it to 6-5 with a two-out rally in the sixth. Giambi doubled to right and Melky the Clutch cranked a hanging slider to deep right 6-5. But again Molina swung at the first pitch to pop out to short, letting the young Floyd off the hook. Another two-out rally tied it for the Yankees in the seventh. Abreu singled, Matsui walked, and Ensberg tattooed a single off righty Linebrink to tie it, extending his arms to be at his most dangerous. But after Cano walked. Giambi popped out to Crede in foul territory, horrible.

Joba dominated the eighth, but the Yankees failed to take the lead and got shafted twice in the inning on balls and strikes calls, in my opinion. They lost from squandered chances, but the calls were pivotal. jeter singled and, with one out Matsui blooped a single to left. Posada pinch-hit for Ensberg when Jenks entered. Jenks threw two balls up and in, and the third pitch, just like the first, was called a strike, horrible call. For instead of 3-0, it was 2-1 and Jorge promptly grounded into a 4-6-3 DP. Shaft job #1. The next came in the bottom half, as the Sox started to hit Joba hard. Pierzynski flew out deep, Quentin was down 1-2 but the next pitch was called a ball, though it was every bit a strike as so many others were by lousy ump Paul Emmel. The next pitch, a hanging curve, he slapped deep for a double. Crede then singled to win it, 7-6 White Sox, Joba’s first loss. Someone should tell Hank that regardless of whether or not he’s starting, this won’t be his last.

Abreu was 2-5 with 2 RBIs, giving him 16 on the season with a .299 average. Melky was 2-3 with 2 runs and two RBIs, his 10th as he’s batting .309. Giambi to his credit is now bating .161 after going 2-4, Jeter was 1-4 with his 13th RBI, but has dropped to .275. Cano was 0-3 and really should sit against Cleveland’s lefties, Damon was 0-3, and Molina was terrible at the plate, going 0-4 with a couple one-pitch at-bats. Bad umpiring or no, the team lost this game itself, leaving on eight, four in scoring position. Worse, Ohlendorf was lousy, leaving pitches up belt high and above that got crushed. Thome’s homer off Hawkins was another big, single run. Bad and inconsistent strike zone notwithstanding, Joba left pitches up and paid the price for it.

Hopefully A-Rod can get back in the lineup healthy. The Yankees really need to put Bruney on the DL and get a fresh arm up, such as Albaladejo, or Rasner to be the long man. The rain delay deprived the team of Hughes, who started very well, further depleting the pen. On to Cleveland, where Cano should grab pine, and hopefully the Yankees can rebound after a long road trip. Though the Yankees dropped to 12-11 and 7-7 during the stretch of 18 road games out of 20 that they finish in Cleveland, finishing with at least a split in Cleveland would be a big boost after the injuries the Yankees have weathered, the staff’s inefficiencies, and the bullpen’s problems and overwork. Nice series win against a division leader. On to Cleveland very late tonight.

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Published in: on April 25, 2008 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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