Yankees 9 Jays 8: Drama and Trauma

Quite a game and day today, with a bit of a scare with GLG that I’ll get to later in the post. First, the good news. For the first time this year, the Yankees won a game in which they were trailing heading into the ninth inning, beating the Jays and BJ Ryan 9-8 on Giambi’s pinch-hit, two-run, two-out walk-off upper-deck [superfluously-hyphenated] shot to win it. Despite blowing a lead after Wang disintegrated in the fifth, and blowing more chances with runners in scoring position, the Yankees fought back for a huge, dramatic game that we can only hope can help turn their season around.

The Yanks manufactured two runs in the first off tough, hard-throwing righty Dustin McGowan. Damon led off with a walk, Jeter doubled to right on a ball that Mench misjudged as it fell onto the warning track, but he probably wouldn’t have had it anyway. Abreu’s 4-3 made it 1-0 NY, and A-Rod’s medium-length fly to right scored Jeter, with him and Meacham making a good aggressive call to give the Yanks a 2-0 lead. After Wang cruised through the second, Posada singled in his first game back, great to see–both the single and his return. Cano followed with a single, Betemit’s DP ball moved Posada to third, but Melky’s K ended the rally.

Wang worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third as Wang sandwiched walks around a single with one out. But he fanned Eckstein and got Rios to ground into a force to escape. The Yanks missed a golden opportunity to open a bigger lead in the third when JD singled, stole second on Jeter’s K, moved to third on Abreu’s single, but A-Rod popped out to second on the first pitch and Matsui K’d, ending that rally. The Jays responded in the fourth when Rolen worked a nine-pitch walk, and Matt Stairs creamed Wang’s first-pitch change-up to right to tie the game. They blew it wide open in the fifth, scoring five. Inglett worked a nine-pitch lead-off walk, Eckstein singled with one out, and Melky’s error on a Rios liner, bouncing off his glove, made it 3-2 Jays. The worst part is that Inglett was running from first on the play and would easily have been doubled off from fairly shallow center had Melky simply caught the ball. Yet Melky’s drop opened the flood gates. Rolen’s HBP loaded the bases, and Stairs’s single scored two more, 5-2. Overbay then doubled to Death Valley, 7-2, ending Wang’s stint. Ohlendorf came on and got the next two outs, but the damage was done, and the Yanks faced a big deficit.

But back they came right away in the fifth to score two, though it could have been more. Melky singled to right, JD walked, and Jeter was hit by a pitch to load the bases–all with no outs. Abreu’s 3-1 made it 7-3, and A-Rod’s sac fly made it 7-4, but Matsui’s 3-1 ended the rally, with more inability to deliver a big hit. The run manufacturing was nice today, but the team still hit poorly with RISP–3 for 13, 1 for 11 in the first eight innings. The Yanks closed it to 7-6 in the sixth when Cano doubled and Betemit crushed his second homer in two days–right-handed no less–to left-center to close it to one run. But the team failed to capitalize on chances in the seventh and eighth innings. Jeter was robbed of a hit in the seventh by Rolen, Abreu doubled, but A-Rod and Matsui failed to plate him and tie the game. Another rally went unrequited in the eighth, though because of both the Yanks’ failure to do the right things and more good defense, particularly Brad Wilkerson. Posada walked to lead off and Shelley pinch-ran for him, but Cano’s inability to lay down a good bunt led to his grounding into a DP with two strikes, all the more costly because Betemit subsequently singled. Had Cano bunted Shelley to second, he may have scored on Betemit’s single. Melky walked and both he and Betemit moved to second and third when a cross-up led to a passed ball. But JD gave a 3-2 off-speed pitch a ride to deep right-center, only to be caught at the wall by a leaping Wilkerson, preserving the Jays lead.

Nuke entered in the ninth, and the predictable unfolded–two singles and an RBI double to add an important insurance run, 8-6 Jays. I honestly have no real problem with the first two singles, for Rios and Rolen got jammed and hit bloop singles to right. Those were hardly Nuke’s fault, for he made good pitches inside that were fought off. His real sin in the ninth was falling behind Stairs 3-1, then having to throw a pretty hittable pitch over the plate, and Stairs cranked a 3-2 fastball to deep left-center for a ground-rule double to score Rios–all with no outs. By the way, this series saw several ground-rule doubles to the exact same part of the park–the left-center warning track; odd for such a cavernous area. Nuke’s escape ended up being huge though we wouldn’t quite know it at the time. Nuke got Overbay to ground to first, intentionally walked Wilkerson, K’d Barajas, and got Inglett to fly to center, a key escape given what followed.

In the bottom of the ninth, Jeter was again robbed of a hit by Rolen, Abreu lined out to center, and A-Rod hit a seeing-eye single through the hole, with the ball moving past Rolen’s left and deflecting off Eckstein’s glove into left. While it’s unlikely that Eckstein would have thrown out A-Rod from that deep in the hole, this was big. A-Rod then took second on defensive indifference, Matsui singled him in, and Giambi pinch-hit for Molina, a great call from Girardi. Giambi had been out for the last couple games nursing a sore foot after Halliday hit it Tuesday night. Giambi turned on an 0-2 pitch and cranked it halfway up the upper deck in right, providing the big walk-off dramatics in a Yankees season sorely lacking such drama thus far. I was making dinner before GLG’s softball game, and just knew that A-Rod seeing-eye single would pay dividends. My hunch, though, was that Matsui would tie the game with a homer. It worked out better the other way, clearly. Tremendous! As I made fajitas and watched the game as Giambi approached the plate, all I could think about was Giambi’s big blast off Jose Mesa in June 2005, a key part of Giambi’s turnaround that year, when his walk-off two-run homer off Mesa helped spur Giambi’s second-half resurgence. Giambi gave Ryan–no slouch by any stretch–the Mesa treatment. This was a big, dramatic win that was nearly blown as the Yanks pounded out 14 hits but stranded 7, 6 in scoring position. I was wild in the kitchen as I wrapped up dinner, really JAZZED for the first time in quite a while. Wang’s start was again poor, allowing seven runs/six earned on five hits, four walks, while fanning four. He’s been awful lately. But the bullpen–except for Nuke–held it fairly tight, pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit, two-walk work. Giambi’s big blast let Nuke and Wang off the hook, without question.

For the trauma, we had to take GLG to the emergency room tonight near the end of the softball game for fear that she suffered a broken nose which, thankfully, she didn’t.  She was playing third with runners on first and second, two outs, and the pitcher took a botched relay throw from the right side and tossed one past the head of the runner and into Gabby’s nose, from a fairly short distance no less. GLG couldn’t pick up the ball on an extremely sunny day and a poor throw, and it plugged her but good. I was behind home coaching and retrieving balls (to speed up the game due to the sheer volume of passed balls) and I could see right away she was hurt for she let the ball roll. She’s normally right on top of that. I ran out and escorted her to the dugout where my wife met her and took her to get ice. She suffered a bloody nose that turned into a flat-out gusher by the time she was on the concourse and beyond, leaving a trail of blood all the way to the restrooms. One of the other coaches asked me if I wanted to check on her, since I had to sub in another girl for her and, when I ran out after her a minute or two later, the poor kid had blood all over her jersey, shorts, and glove–not a good sight when it’s your kid hurt, scared, and bleeding like all get-out. I left right away and took her to the emergency room to make sure her nose wasn’t broken. They were great there, and thankfully it wasn’t, just a good headache, a fat lip, and some swelling around the nose–and remarkably no discoloration yet from bruising. There’s nothing worse than seeing your kid in pain and trying to help ease it, but needing to do something else like drive with barely restrained abandon to the hospital. All the worse, GLG was having one whale of a game, smoking a hit between first and second off a hard-throwing pitcher, walking and scoring, and making tremendous plays in the field at third and in the outfield. She grabbed a grounder way to her left at third in front of the napping shortstop and outran the runner to the bag for the force, and backed up three plays in the outfield to cover for napping neighbor outfielders whose plays those were, yet GLG had to hustle and do it. She was really something to see and be proud of, all the more so considering how well she handled the unfortunate and painful trauma that ended her softball night on a low note.

Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 12:42 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s nice to see Giambino’ hit a nice kerk Gibson style bomb. Though the win was most exciting, Ching Ming Wang is still struggling and now would be a good time to hit the panic button. His pitches aren’t working at all and this makes it his fourth consecutive no productive start. Wang and Andy have been faltering they really need to pick it up the team very dependant upon the experience and quality they have given. Overall the Yankees should gain momentum with a win like this and of course Jason’s mustache. I can’t help to restrain myself from commenting on the Red Sox and Tampa series so I will. The Red Sox gained sole possession of first place but it seems at a high cost. With the antics between Coco “The Spartan” Crisp and the Rays this will certainly get both teams considerable suspensions. In the mayhem the Red Sox also managed to get injuries to Jacoby and Manny during the game. Adding dramatics to the game Manny had a surprising altercation with Youkillis. I can see both teams being momentarily handicapped and this would be a great time for the bombers to take advantage in the standings. On another note can this be taken as a sign that Johnny Cashman is being re-valued by the franchise? “We’re going to be talking about it” -Hank Steinbrenner. I don’t feel this to be a adequate time in the season to be evaluating Bryan’s future but I wish him the best. Kudos to draftee Geret Cole to be featured as the Yankees first pick, he must be in complete nirvana. Cheers to Rasner and a good outing too finally but this team above .500 for good!

  2. Ouch! That sounds like quite the ordeal. As a new parent I can totally relate thought thankfully I’ve yet to go thru an ordeal like that. Can’t wait for him to start playing sports. Can’t get hurt watching The Wiggles.

    As for the team, they have to get over this hump of mediocrity. I’m sick of being at or a game under/above 500. Yesterday’s win was big and i hope they use it as a jumping off point.

    God bless the stache!



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