Andy Pettitte, Friday’s starting pitcher, had the best line of the night. “I was in a pretty bad mood before and now I’m in a good mood,” Pettitte said to the gaggle of Yankee reporters after the game.
Perhaps without realizing it, Pettitte spoke for all of us as the Yankees scored four in the 8th and two in the 9th to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The 10-9 win was the Yanks’ fourth victory in a row, and the Bombers suddenly find themselves just a game behind Boston and two behind the Blue Jays.
The game didn’t start out with that bad mood though. While Pettitte put two runners on in top of the first — a common theme throughout the evening — the Yanks plated four in the bottom of the first. Two walks, a sac fly, a Robinson Cano single and a Jorge Posada home run would give the Yanks a lead that would hold up for four more innings.
As the game progressed, though, the Yanks seemed to be playing with fire. Pettitte put a runner on in the second, three in the third, one in the fourth and one in the fifth. Somehow, none of these Angels came around to score, but in the sixth, Pettitte would not be so lucky.
Torii Hunter and Mike Napoli both singled to start the inning, and I figured Joe Girardi would go to the bullpen. He did not. While Andy got two quick outs on a ground ball and a strike out, he gave up hits to Jeff Mathis and Erick Aybar and then walked Chone Figgins. With two outs, the bases loaded and the Yanks’ lead down to two, Joe Girardi summoned a pitcher making just his third Major League appearance. Even Joba had to earn his way into high-leverage situations.
Mark Melancon quickly surrendered the lead. He gave up a bases clearing triple to Gary Matthews and allowed Matthews to score on a wild pitch. In the span of two batters, the Yanks found themselves down 6-4, and Pettitte’s final line — 5.2 IP, 9H, 5 ER, 4 BB and 2 K — was hardly impressive.
The game continued to slip away in the 7th. Jose Veras retired but one batter and gave up three runs. The Yanks, down 9-4, would have to come back against the only bullpen in the Majors worse than theirs.
Well, comeback they did. The Yanks scored four in the 8th, and after a crisp 1-2-3 inning from Jonathan Albaladejo, the eventually winner, they went to work against Brian Fuentes in the 9th. Mark Teixeira walked, Hideki Matsui singled, and Robinson Cano singled. With the bases loaded, Jorge Posada lined a 3-2 pitch into the left-center field gap for a walk-off, two-run single. All was right with the world.
Of course, the Yanks had a few scares tonight. Nick Swisher is a day-to-day with a bruised right elbow after taking a first-inning Jered Weaver offering off his arm. The bullpen went 3.2 innings and gave up four runs, and I will maintain that sticking Melancon into a situation like tonight’s so soon into his career may not have been Joe Girardi’s most prudent move. But the Yanks won, and that’s what counts. They’ll aim for five in a row at 1:05 p.m. when CC Sabathia takes the hill.
Above: Jorge ends the game. (Photo via Yahoo! Sports)