Pettite, Defense Terrific As Yanks Win 5-3

I must admit that part of me is just happy that the Yanks won a “normal” game, and not just by the 5-3 score.  Last night’s win wasn’t punctuated by a precipitous bullpen collapse, a 14-run outburst by the opponent, or nearly a dozen homers.  In fact, it had all of one which, by my tally, is the least ever hit thus far in the new Stadium.  The game had a fine, familiar feel, with Pettite excellent through seven innings and teaming with Mariano, who earned his fourth save of the year and 486th of his remarkable career, for the 57th time that the two have won and saved a game together.  This tied the record set by the A’s Bob Welch and Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley, a tremendous accomplishment for Pettite and Rivera alike and a testament to not just their longevity, but their success and many contributions.

Pettite was very good and efficient, needing just 105 pitches/67 strikes to complete seven, allowing nine hits but walking none with the two runs earned, fanning none either.  He got defensive help early and often, beginning with Brett the Jet in the first who stole at least a double from Mr. Giambi.  The Big G, who received a warm standing ovation before his first at-bat at the new class-infused Stadium, laced one to deep center that Gardner tracked all the way before leaping to make the catch, falling onto the track; tremendous catch for the center fielder, who truly plays his position well.

Teixeira helped Pettite twice, the first time converting a rare 3-2 DP by snaring Sweeney’s grounder and, with Teixeira positioned close to the bag, stepping on the bag with his left foot and promptly throwing home off his right foot.  The accurate peg to Jorge caught the A’s catcher Suzuki in a rundown, with Jorge completing the DP after a brief chase for the second out, eventually helping Pettite escape the inning unscathed.  He made another good play in the fourth that resulted in a force and a run, but saved a run, at least temporarily, for the A’s added their second run on a Suzuki single to cut the Yanks lead in half.  But that was all he would yield, pitching well for the third straight time out.  Additionally, what a pleasure it is to watch Teixeira field his position with grace and dexterity, unlike the likable but clumsy Giambi, whom Pete Abraham humorously likened to a grizzly bear trying to catch a salmon.  It’s a privilege to watch Teixeira work–and save runs.

Most of the Yanks’ offense came in the second off A’s lefty Dana Eveland, who allowed four early.  Swish walked, Matsui doubled and, after a Ransom F9, Brett the Jet struck again, singling them both in, 2-0 Yanks.  He promptly stole second, his fourth steal of the year, and went to third on Jeter’s single.  JD’s single to center scored The Jet, 3-0 and moved Jeter to third, but JD was out trying to reach second.  Teixeira’s single scored Jeter, 4-0, a healthy early lead for Pettite and the Yanks, who never trailed.

JD added a big homer into the second deck in right in the sixth, but the Yanks could have salted this one early.  After hitting so well with RISP in the second, JD’s pop out in the third left the bases loaded, and the team stranded two in the first.  In all, New York left ten on base, but hitting 4-11 with RISP was a marked improvement over their wretched performance with RISP against Cleveland, hitting 4-32–1-25 in the first three games.  Jeter was 2-4 with a run, batting .286.  JD was 2-5 with 2 RBIs and his second homer, batting .273.  Teixeira drove in his eighth run and is up to .211.  Jorge was 2-4, batting .279 now.  Cano was 1-4, batting a crisp .377 but going 4 for his last 15, even though he’s hit in his last nine games.  Swish scored a run on his seventh walk, maintaining a very nice .415 OBP but has not unexpectedly cooled at the plate, going 1 for his last 15 and hitting .311 now.  Good to see Matsui hitting well, going 2-3 with a double and a run to raise his average to .235.  Ransom had a single but 2 K’s and botched a play at third, batting .159 and making me long for the rehabbing A-Rod even more.  Brett the Jet is only batting .245/.288 but has earned his keep both at the plate and in center, going 1-4 with 2 RBIs and his 4th steal.  He’s playing a mean center and has been decent at the plate, but I think needs to be a bit more aggressive early in counts.  I think it’s a product of still adjusting to this level, so it’s understandable.  But once he recognizes those mid-count off-speed pitches that are giving him two-strike counts, he’ll pick it up a bit.  Still, he’s been fine and certainly isn’t hurting the team any.  His speed is a welcome addition, offensively and defensively.

Bruney had retired 22 straight before allowing two hits and a run in the eighth, but has been excellent and, as Frank the Sage and I chatted last night, the Yanks have their eighth-inning guy in him.  He was routinely burning it in at 95 mph.  Mariano is who he is, the greatest there has ever been, allowing a single and getting a K in earning his fourth save this year and 486th ever, ending the game by catching a feeble Cabrera bunt.

Today, Sabathia (1-1, 3.57 ERA) looks for the two-game series sweep against the lefty Brett Anderson (0-2, 4.85 ERA) at 1:05 ET.

[Edit: I kept this recap a bit briefer than others primarily because I’m still experiencing Internet issues, and lost two other posts mid-stream.  Yet right now, I’m just thankful to still have a laptop.]

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Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  

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