Game 116: Yankees @ Mariners, 8/14/09–Yanks Press On, 4-2

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are tonight’s starting lineups.  Posada is back in the lineup, while A-Rod still sits with what Abraham said is a sore back.  Hopefully Lefty can follow up his tremendous start against Boston with another tonight, succeeding C.C. after his gem last night.  Rowland-Smith is getting hit hard this year, especially with lefties hitting .364 off him, righties.292.  The Yanks continuing that trend would be a good thing, obviously.  Grab some coffee, and enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (72-43)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Hairston 3B
Cabrera CF

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.14).

MARINERS (60-55)
Suzuki RF
Gutierrez CF
Lopez 2B
Griffey Jr, DH
Branyan 1B
Hannahan 3B
Johnson C
Wilson SS
Saunders LF

Pitching: LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-1, 3.86).

In the bottom of the first, Pettite allowed a single, single, RBI double, and RBI groundout to fall behind 2-0, before striking out two to escape.  Jorge doubled off the top of the wall to start the second, got reviewed, no HR.  Cano grounded him over to third, Swish walked, and Hairston’s hustle–and Lopez’s bobble–beat a 5-4-3 DP to give the Yanks a run, 2-1 Mariners.

Single by the great Ichiro, maybe my favorite non-Yankee ever, then a walk, two pop-outs, and a nice running catch by Swish in right center lets Lefty escape, still 2-1.  As Frank the Sage astutely pointed out in a text last night, Ichiro is working on his 9th straight 200-hit season.  Joke.  Ichiro is a Hall-of-Fame player now. Matsui, Posada, and Cano up in the fourth.  Nothing.

Pettite got Hannahan on an F7, came back from 3-0 to strike out Johnson on a 92-mph fastball, Wilson singled then got picked off; excellent throw by Teixeira to Jeter, three down but Pettite is at 78 pitches/46 strikes after 4.  Effective, but not efficient.

Swish crushed a long, loud foul ball to left before striking out.  Honestly, I can’t say how many at-bats there are in which someone crushes a foul homer, then fans or gets out weakly.  Hairston fouls out to the catcher, hardly anything more useless than that, two down.  Melky beat out an infield single on a tapper to third; nice hustle, kid.  A wild pitch on a 1-2 to Jeter sent Melky to second, and Jeter singled wide of third, with both Hannahan and Wilson at short missing the ball, tie game 2-2 with a two-out, er, rally.  Even though Hannahan could have had it, the real sin was Wilson missing the ball as if distracted by Hannahan crossing before him on a slow ground ball, letting Melky score.  JD struck out, but the Yanks tied it.

Pettite struck out the side in the fifth, including the great Ichiro on a filthy slider.  The only problem is Pettite has thrown 96 pitches/57 strikes through five, striking out eight.

Rowland-Smith is baffling the Yanks, getting Posada looking for the second time on a slow yakker.  Lefty is thankfully matching him, striking out two more in the sixth sandwiching Junior’s single, and escaping on JD’s nice catch in deep left on Hannahan’s long, loud F7.  Pettite has fanned 10 and, at 111 pitches/67 strikes with righties coming up, my guess is he’s done.  Runs now, Yanks, please.  Nope, down 1-2-3 in the seventh.  Rowland-Smith is at 99 pitches through 7 and may be out for the eighth.  Bruney is up in the bullpen.

Bruney enters, getting Johnson on a weak fly ball and Wilson on an F8, nice catch by Melky charging in, two down.  Saunders got a bloop hit to left, not Bruney’s fault, with Ichiro up, who grounds into a 5-4 force, nicely done Hairston and especially Bruney, who has been terrific lately.

Melky, Jeter, and JD–time for some runs, guys.  Nothing, 1-2-3.

Hughes in for the bottom of the eighth, walking Junior in a ten-pitch at-bat with two outs, then walking the dangerous Branyan on a 3-2 fastball up after being ahead 1-2.  Hughes then yet again went 3-2 to Hannahan after again being ahead 1-2, but fanned him on the gas, 95 mph.  Not efficient work from Hughes, throwing 28 pitches, but it got the job done.

Teixeira absolutely crushed a 1-1 pitch down Broadway to right, way deep, 3-2 Yankees.  Lowe hung a belt-high change right over the plate, and Teixeira destroyed it. That’s 30 taters for Teixeira this year. After Posada struck out, Cano blooped a double to left, his 33rd double and Swish hit a money RBI single to right center just over second, 4-2 Yankees.  Hairston blooped a single to center, first and second for Melky.  After just missing a two-run double to right, Melky grounded out to short, but the damage was done, 4-2 Yankees.  Mariano now.

Johnson taps out to short, one down.  Wilson down on a 5-3, two down.  Saunders down on a 4-3, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy!  Mariano earns his 34th save of the year and 516th of his incomparable career as the Yanks get great pitching from Pettite, who again deserved a win but didn’t get much run support.  Yet his line speaks volumes to his work–6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs earned, 1 BB, 10 K on 111 pitches/67 pitches.  [Edit: By my tally, Pettite struck out five with his slider, four with the gas, and one–the great Ichiro–with a terrific curve.] His last six starts after the break have been outstanding–39 2/3 IP, 31 hits, 10 runs 9 earned, 10 BB, and 43 K, 2.04 ERA.   The bullpen was also, again, money with 1 hit and 2 BB (both with 2 out from Hughes in the eighth) the only blemishes on fine relief of Pettite.  Clutch hitting also pulled the Yanks through, with Teixeira’s bomb putting them ahead and Swish getting big insurance. 30 games over .500.  Wow.

If a team doesn’t put the Yanks away, they risk regretting it later.  Seattle will regret this, especially with a spent bullpen.  If the Yanks get lots of runs early tomorrow, look out.

How money is Teixeira?  His homer, his 30th, was just at the right time.

In some ways, this win reminds me so much of the Yanks’ 7-4 win in Seattle on August 29th, 2005, for in each game the Yanks started slowly and had to come from behind.  It was a game with which we as Yankees fans had to be patient.  I distinctly remember staying up late for the game, and Mussina was awful as the Yanks fell behind 4-0.  I stuck with the game, and Small was great in relief  to help bail out the Yanks, who responded late in the game with lots of power.  Giambi hit two big blasts sandwiching Cano’s RBI single, finally going ahead on Giambi’s second homer off Matt Thornton, 5-4 in the sixth.  A-Rod and Matt Lawton (remember him?) homered in the eighth to open it up.  An odd coincidence?  Mariano saved that game, and it was his 34th save of that season, too.

This team is rolling, now winning 35 of 46.  With Boston’s win, the Yanks remain 6 1/2 games ahead in the East.  Tampa Bay’s loss puts them 11 1/2 back in the East as they’re fading fast.  With the Angels’ loss, the Yanks are 3 1/2 (2 in the loss column) ahead of them for home field in the AL.  The last time the Yanks were 30 games above .500 on August 14 was 2004, when they were 34 above .500.

As The Sage would say, shifting gears.

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Another great win I said to Mike I would be happy with a 2-2 series I rather a series win but I’ll take it. Great to see Bruney looking good again. Offence will need to score at least 7 or more today with Mitre going.

  2. I have no confidence in Meat Tray (credit to tonight. However, I am more concerned with Joba having a solid outing on Sunday. His last two starts have been so-so and he’s facing a poor offensive team tomorrow. Get the series win guys before heading down to Oakland.

  3. Agreed on both counts, Wiz. Hopefully the bats can do more tonight to support Meat Tray than they did for most of last night. He’ll need it. I’d like Joba to get back to being Joba, especially since he’ll have a lot of time off before he starts next.

  4. Definitely, Nick. I was thinking three of four before this series, and that looks feasible now. No doubt, the Yanks better put more on the board than they managed last night. Thankfully Pettite settled in after a rough first and had an excellent start.

  5. I would guess the Meat Tray has a lot of meatballs being served up? (Love that…Meat Tray…).

    35 of 46. Wow. Even more of a sustained stretch is the last EIGHTY-FOUR GAMES. That is over 1/2 a season. In those 84 (since the 15-17 start) the Yanks are 58-26. .690. .690 over a whole season is 112-50. As I point out…imagine if a) Gardner were healthy now but more importantly B) the Yanks had a reliable #5…or if Wang were say…WANG.

  6. While I love Gardner and want his return soon, Mike, choice B, Wang, is definitely the bigger one. The Yanks would be running away with it and home field if he even had an ERA of 4.50. Ever since A-Rod returned, the Yanks have been the best team in baseball, hands down.

    So much of that is the corresponding rise of the pitching. Pettite was terrific after a rough first, and his numbers after the break, posted above, have been outstanding.

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