Yanks Walk Off With Big Win

Thanks to the heroics of many, especially Matsui, Gardner, and Cervelli, the Yanks came from behind with three runs in the eighth and ninth to beat Toronto 5-4 last night.  Aside from Bruney’s continued struggles, the bullpen was excellent in relief of the decent Gaudin to hold Toronto in check until the offense awakened.  The victory reduced the Yanks’ magic number to clinch the East to 11, and increased the number of walk-off wins for the team this year to 14.

The Yanks got two in the first on Teixeira’s RBI double and Matsui’s RBI single.  But the Jays tied it in the third, took the lead in the sixth, and added a run off the struggling Bruney in the seventh.  Meanwhile, after Tallet was knocked out of the game by a comebacker, the Jays’ bullpen shut down the Yanks for much of the way until the eighth.  After Hughes worked a 1-2-3 eighth, A-Rod singled, and Matsui went down and cranked a 1-2 curve out to right center to tie it at four.  Tremendous clutch work from Matsui yet again, having come through so many times this year and in the past, a great Yankee.

Mariano entered and worked around a cheap lead-off single by Snider.  In the bottom half, Brett the Jet had a good at-bat and singled up the middle, then stole second with ease.  Jeter’s grounder to short moved him to third.  Cervelli came up, having entered for Molina and been inserted second for Hairston, and laced a 1-2 change past a diving shortstop into left to score Gardner and win the game.  I don’t know about all of you, but although it was frustrating to watch and the offense was dormant, I had the sense that the close game gave the Yanks a good shot.  When down a couple runs, especially at home, they are far from out of the game, especially with all the power in the lineup.  They just needed a shot at it.

The win was big, for Boston won a wild back-and-forth game against the Angels, keeping the Yanks five ahead in the loss column.  As I speculated over texts with Mike, a loss would have put the Yanks four ahead in the loss column, not nearly as comfortable a lead with the Yanks heading out West to play Seattle and the Angels, then facing Boston at the end of the month.  This win, on a night with Gaudin pitching and the offense struggling, was rather important to regain some momentum after losing three of five to Baltimore and Toronto, to cap a strong overall home stand 7-3, and maintain a good lead.

Matsui was money yet again, going 2-4 with 3 RBI, his 25th homer with 85 RBI and a .280 average.  He has been essential to the Yanks’ success this year with clutch hitting, while strengthening the lineup in the five-spot.  A-Rod was 2-4, batting an improved .287.  Teixeira’s 40th double of the year netted his 112th RBI.  Without dramatizing it too much, it is hard to imagine where the Yanks would be without Cervelli stepping in this May, playing very well for several weeks, hitting .268 this year, and playing good defense.  His game-winning RBI and post-game celebration with the team and the obligatory pie were well-deserved for the kid.  Brett the Jet will be a key component of the Yanks’ October run.  His speed is a great weapon, something few teams can either match or shut down.  When he got on last night, his stealing was almost a foregone conclusion.  His defense is excellent, and his ability to pinch-run will no doubt prove crucial for the team this post-season.  He adds a speed factor that the team has sorely lacked for a long time.

The Yanks get a nice day off before playing Seattle tomorrow night.  15 to play, 6 1/2 up on Boston (5 in the loss column) in the East, 7 ahead of the Angels (6 in the loss column) for hole field.  The Yanks just need to stay focused and play good baseball to lock up the division and home field, both of which are coming closer thanks to the team’s resiliency.

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 5:34 am  Leave a Comment  

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