Yanks walk-off with a win thanks to their centerfielders

SWB & Trenton Tampa sweep doubleheaders
The decline and fall of David Ortiz

Allow me to present part of the IM convo Ben and I had during the game:

me: this game has walk-off win written all over it
Benjamin: i hope
Sent at 9:58 PM on Friday

That was right after Carlos Gomez nearly broke Mark Teixeira‘s arm by running inside the baseline down to first, prompting a shouting match between players and managers. The game just had that feel to it, the feel that no matter how many baserunners the Yanks left on base (eleven to be exact), no matter how many pitches in the other batter’s box were called strikes, and no matter how many times Justin Morneau went deep, that they would just find a way to pull out a W.

Rewind back to the early innings. The molten hot Johnny Damon struck out on a questionable pitch in the first, then Morneau led off the second by hitting a ball at his shins into the Yanks’ bullpen. Phil Hughes walked the next two batters and looked to be on the way to another short outing, but he escaped the inning without allowing another run. Alex Rodriguez led off the following frame and received a nice hand from the crowd in his first game at the New Stadium. He worked a walk, the first of four on the night. It’s a good thing the RAB Fantasy League counts OBP as a stat, I need all the help I can get.

Jumping ahead to the third, we saw a side of Johnny Damon we haven’t seen before. After being rung up on a far outside pitch on the first, home plate ump Wally Bell called Damon out on a pitch well inside and set him off. Damon emphatically argued the call and was ejected (ending his streak of ten straight games with an extra base hit), but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Brett Gardner, taking over for Damon, lit a little fire under the team’s ass with an inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the seventh with the team down three runs. Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras, of all people, held the Twins at bay until the bottom of the ninth.

With Joe Nathan on the mound working for the fourth straight day, Gardner ripped a 93 mph 3-2 fastball into the right-center field gap for a triple. The guy slipped on the bag rounding first and took a nasty spill, but he still managed to make it to third. Teixeira followed with an RBI single up the middle, just out of the reach of second baseman Matt Tolbert. A-Rod drew his fourth walk of the night, not before having two pitches that nearly hit him called strikes, to put the tying run in scoring position. Hideki Matsui struck out on 2-2 slider, and Nick Swisher had a game-tying single taken away by Justin Morneau, who ranged far to his right and made a great diving stop.

With two outs and the tying and winning runs at third and second, respectively, Ron Gardenhire ordered his closer to intentionally walk Robinson Cano to get to Melky Cabrera. Now, as much as I can brag about my walk-off win prediction earlier, I have to be fair and say that right before Melky’s at-bat I told Ben “I know the numbers, but I don’t trust Melk.” Leche made me eat my words, taking the first pitch he saw and placing it perfectly between Denard Span and Carlos Gomez in left-centerfield, giving the Yanks a hard found 5-4 win. It was the Yanks’ third walk-off win  and their twelfth come-from-behind win of the year.

Gardner fell a double short of the cycle, the 3-4 hitters reached base a combined seven times, Phil Hughes kept the team in the game and battled for five innings, the bullpen allowed just one run in four innings of work (acceptable), and the team is 5-2 since A-Rod returned. All is well in Yankeeland. Joba Chamberlain will look to keep the team on a roll tomorrow afternoon against Nick Blackburn, when the team has a chance to go two games over .500 for the first time since May 2nd. Given the way they’re hitting, I’m assuming tomorrow’s outfield will Damon-Gardner-Melky, from left to right. They’ve earned it.

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SWB & Trenton Tampa sweep doubleheaders
The decline and fall of David Ortiz
  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    Some want to second guess Gardy’s move to walk Cano, but I agreed with it and still do. It worked the two previous times he did it, when Melky stranded (4?) baserunners. He just ran out of luck.

    • Drew

      Aka, Melky got a good pitch to hit in the last AB.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    Girardi explained what happened between him and Gardenhire on the post game. He started out by saying he has a lot of respect for Gardy, and that he went out there to protect his player (as he should). He said it got ugly because Gardy started screaming at his player (Tex), whereas Girardi hadn’t said a word to Gomez. So that’s what ticked him off.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

    I am writing a tremendous post about being at the game.

    But all you need to know is my friend and I were two steps from the door before we heard “strike out the side” and I grabbed him and said ‘let’s stay for the bottom of the ninth, trekking in the Bronx late at night be damned’.

    So we stayed.

    And I am really, really fucking glad I did.

    • Brendan

      I was there too but never even considered leaving. Where were you sitting?

  • Drew

    It should be said, with all the criticism many of us give Girardi for various reasons, I love how he sticks up for his guys. Without reference to Teix’s play, when he saw Damon flipping, he ran, no, he sprinted out to save Damon from getting thrown out and to argue the call. Of course he was a little late, he’s no Usain Bolt, but still he sticks up for his guys more than most do.

    • GG

      yea, he does do a great job of this, although most managers do….That ump rung Damon up REAL quick, youd think he would be more patient given how bad his calls were

  • John

    Let’s keep this going tomorrow

  • Pete

    I had a funny feeling too, I guess that’s why I kept watching through until the end. The bullpen not coughing up more than the one run helped.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    I don’t why, but I have this feeling Joba is going to *obliterate the Twinkies later this afternoon.

    *I was a UUUUGE Yu-Gi-Oh fan as a kid, so every time I see or hear the word, “obliterate”, I think of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfqNH3FoGi0

    • John

      Oh yeah I remember that. Good times.

      I think I still have all of my Yu-Gi-Oh cards somewhere in the house, i’ll look for them someday. Actually, I think I still have some Pokemon cards unless I have them away (for the second time).

  • Matty Ice

    I thought Damon and Tex had legit beefs. The first strikeout of Damon was in the other batters box. Not even close.

    As for Tex, didn’t some first baseman break his arm a few years back when a guy ran into him on a similar play?

    • Manimal

      T’was Brian Roberts. And I don’t even want to try and remember that Yanks-sox play when Menky got fucked up. Its a scary scene when that stuff happens.

      • Drew

        Shef too. Pretty much ended his Yankee career.

      • Tom Zig

        yeah it was Bubba Crosby running down the line in that game…it was an ugly sight. Put Roberts out for the rest of that season

    • JP

      Brian Roberts, covering first on a bunt, had his arm broken on that play. It was a Yankee who ran into him.

      Gomez is a jerk. I don’t know what’s so hard about running in that box, but runners cheat on that play all the time to try to get on base by messing up the throwing angle. Maybe it isn’t intentional, but I often wonder if it is.

  • Arman Tamzarian

    Isn’t it on the catcher to keep the ball away from the bag on that play? Gomez was way too far inside, but Cash has to keep Tex from having to reach in. Given where the ball wound up, Gomez could have been over a bit more and you still would have had a problem of Tex reaching in.

    • Dorian

      If the play takes the catcher inside the field of play (between the foul lines) the first baseman is supposed to have one foot on the bag and the other in fair territory which was the case. Cash simply missed Tex’s glove.

  • Mike

    Quick question, what side of the foul line is first base on, where Gomez was running 45 feet down the line is not relevent, the throw was on the foul side of first and Gomez touched first on the half of the base closest to the foul line. If Texiria gets one in the ribs tommorow he will deserve it. If Gomez gets one in the ribs the pitcher will be suspended.

    • John

      Ummm first of all, no one “deserves” being drilled by a 90+ hr baseball and being hurt no matter what. Second, the base is inside the foul line (I think). The throw was bad but not all that bad either. Gomez was clearly running on the grass instead of the box/baseline.

    • Chris

      It’s one of those stupid baseball rules. The base is in fair territory, but the runner is required to stay in foul territory when running to first. If he runs into fair territory, then he can be called out on interference.

  • Manimal

    “Gardner a double away from history”

    No body gives a damn that he was closer to a cycle than Jacoby is, but MLB.com front page says “Ellsbury flirting with history against Mariners” Damon almost had a cycle couple games ago as well.

    • Drew

      I think I’m the only person that doesn’t understand the value of a cycle. Yeah, it’s cool. My hole contention is, isn’t 3 Hr’s and a single better? Isn’t a single, double and 2 homer’s better? I’ve always been dumbfounded by the fact that Alex’s 3 HR day vs Colon goes by the wayside but cycles are “heralded in history.”

      • Manimal

        Yeah I’m with you on that one.

        • Drew

          Damn you’re quick. lol

      • Drew

        *whole

      • John

        well, you are correct by a cycle is just kinda special as you have to have each type hit.

        Both players that have hit for the cycle and 3 HRs in game are listed in Wiki.

      • JP

        Agree…who really cares what an individual player did, anyway? They WON, they got some breaks, they came back…how refreshing.

  • V

    Has ESPN started worrying about Lester yet? 6.5 ERA with 10 HRs allowed on the season.

    But, listening to those hacks, Joba is the one that can’t cut it as a starter, no?

    • EB

      The verducci effect…

    • Todd

      Amen brother.

  • Drew

    Whoops, whole**

  • V

    I really don’t know why Ellsbury gets the love he does. He’s 26, and all he’s shown us is worse than Juan Pierre. But he’s a top tier player, evidence of Boston’s superior farm system?

    • JP

      You don’t know why he gets the love he does? He’s a Red Sox, that’s why.

      It’s so ironic that the Yankees have been villified by the press, hated for having an owner who creates an ATM for the team so they can afford the biggest payroll, and when Boston finally succeeds in doing the same thing, they are the darlings of the baseball world to the MSM.

      The Red Sox are the Yankees-lite. Yes, they appear to have had a bit better judgement in the past few years on player development, trades, contract workings, etc., but they really are simply doing the exact same thing the Yankees did: leveraging their team and their ballpark to generate the most $$$, and using it to grow and buy the best players.

    • GG

      its just disgusting, I wish ESPN would stop. Ravech, born in Needham, Mass, Steve Berthiaume, Medfield, Mass….I mean its okay to be proud of where your from, and I like Ravech, but Berthume is the worst. Someone should tell that guy, if your going to host bbtn, you can’t make it clear to the audience which team your rooting for, I really wish he would lose his job.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

    My reaction to tonight’s game

    http://www.puristbleedspinstri.....k-off.html

    • yankees=warriors

      Wow, what a day for you!!!
      I can not express my envy/jealousy.

  • YankeeScribe

    Am I the only one who is glad Cano got walked in the 9th inning? The way Cano has been swinging the bat lately, I felt like he’d be an easier out than Melky.

    • BklynJT

      Second

    • BklynJT

      Third

    • Drew

      I suppose. I recognize tendencies but to be honest, I have confidence in all of them except for Grit. Shows what I know though..

      • http://theyankeebomber.blogspot.com Conan

        Fourth. If I was Gardenhire, I would have went right after him.

    • JP

      Fourth. I said to the wife when Cano came up “game’s over. He can’t get a hit in a situation like this.” I was really psyched when they decided to pitch to Melky.

      In the vast scheme of things, though, I would have preferred for Cano to get the winning hit. He needs to get some big hits to boost his confidence. Nathan was pretty flat, and Cano probably would have gotten a pitch to hit.

      • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

        but an intentional walk could boost his confidence, if he thinks about like “they dont want to pitch to me” and not as “they want to pitch to melky”.

    • Mike Pop

      Na, remember when Bal walked Posada to get to Cano last year I think it was. Cano was swinging horribly then too, but he got the walk-off win. As long as there is no type of injury to the player, I’d always take the better hitter at the plate.

      But, I’ve never hated Melky like most here do. So I was fine with him up, I mean if Grit Gritner got a hit off him, Melky could ;)

  • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

    I like the idea of Damon, Grits McGee and Melks in the outfield tomorrow. Swish needs a few days and you need to play the hot hand.

    *side note. Anyone know who starts Wednesday? I’m trying to do the math, but I was never good at it. Is it Hughes, or Wang on short rest?

    • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

      would be hughes if wang doesnt come back in.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15305165&ref=profile Doug

      lol, Grits McGee

  • dkidd

    another crap start from lester. maybe that whole “don’t jump pitchers more than 50 innings from the previous year” theory has some merit

    2 games back in the loss column!

    8-1 homestand (with one rainout)

    • Tom Zig

      But dude, the Sawx have teh best trainers evaa!!!

  • DJNYforLIFE

    Wow

  • DJNYforLIFE

    What an incredible team! For year in and year out we have been an under achiving team. At this time last year, and in years past, the yanks were in a big hole. But now we have a team that has rislilance. I mean who didn’t see two jacks comming from Morneau tonight? He’s the kind of hitter that will accell in the New Yankee Stadium. He’s what we all help Tex will be. How bout this Yankees squads depth. My prediction is that you will see Gardner ane the melkman in the field the next game, Joe likes to ride the hot streaks and Swish will see the bench tomorrow. Thoughts?

    • http://theyankeebomber.blogspot.com Conan

      I agree. Swisher needs to hit the bench for a day or two. Michael Kay said he struck out 17 times in a 34 at bat stretch. Brutal. Stick with the hot bat. Competition is good.

    • hamburger helper

      My thoughts exactly. Damon, Gardner and Melky this weekend. Let Swisher DH Sunday if Godzilla comes up empty on Saturday (or just sit Matsui against a lefty if one is starting – sorry, don’t have the matchups handy).

    • JP

      Unless there were a lefty/righty thing, I agree he’ll play Gardner and sit Swisher.

      • El Generalissimo

        Even though Swisher looks to be breaking out with that double and robbed of a single in the 9th. I think you have to DH swish tomorrow and give Hideki the day off. Dont want to bench swisher now when he may break out.

  • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

    Time to build some momentum and get on a long winning streak.

  • Mike Pop

    Such a great game all around. I’m glad Phil got out of the trouble he did, awesome by gardner to hit both a inside-the-park hr and a triple. Even though the hr was a gift, still awesome. Swish needs to get a day off or so, still think he’s solid just looks bad lately. Type of player he is I guess.

    I love walk-offs but I think there should be a rule that A.J. can’t participate in them. With his injury history….

    • GG

      great call on AJ…He could have easily broken his wrist with that pie

  • Bonos

    I really liked the reslilance and accel. You need the reslilance to accel faster? Something like that.

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