Jul
21

Pair of solo homers powers Yanks past Orioles 2-1

By

When a game ends in a walk-off, it’s easy to forget what came before. Last night’s game was a tense one right up until Hideki Matsui relieved it with a blast into the bleachers. The game remained tied from the bottom of the second to the bottom of the ninth, and it seemed as if Baltimore was just about to break through on a couple of occasions. But the Yanks fended them off, taking their third straight game by the score of 2-1.

Andy Pettitte gave up a run in the first, a homer to Nick Markakis on a ball that was around his shins. That was not a sign of things to come, as he retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced. Troubled brewed in the fifth after a walk and a Matt Wieters single put runners on first and third with one out, but Pettitte escaped that. A pair of double plays erased a couple of singles in the sixth and seventh, but then Pettitte faced a second and third, one out, jam in the eighth and Joe Girardi thought it best that someone else get out of it.

(Taking this space to give Eric Hinske props on a good play on Roberts’ double. He knew he wasn’t going to catch it, so he didn’t over pursue. He let the ball ricochet and played it well. I can’t help but think another outfielder might have chased it all the way in the corner and let Wieters get to second, or worse, let Izturis score. Also, his homer was brutal. Absolutely crushed. Love to see that.)

What follows is an ode to defense and determination. With Phil Coke on the mound in relief, Nick Markakis stepped up, ready to hit. Coke threw a 93 mph fastball on the inside edge, and Markakis turned on it, bouncing the ball hard to Mark Teixeira at first. It seemed like Teixeira wanted to tag first and go for the double play, but he knew he had time only for the lead foe. He fired to Molina, who reached around to tag Izturis and record the inning’s second out.

The play amazed on every level. First, Teixeira fielded the bouncing ball quickly. Second, he decided he had enough time to throw home. Third, he threw an accurate bullet. Fourth, Molina laid down the tag right on Izturis’s spikes, which cannot be a pleasant feeling. Fifth, Molina actually held onto the ball, which was at the edge of his webbing. Everything went right, and the Yankees kept the game tied.

That eased some tension. Now the runner couldn’t score from third on an out. Coke could just concentrate on the batter and get him. So what does he do? The catcher’s worst enemy: a fastball in the dirt. Molina got down for it, but sometimes there’s just no blocking it. It squibbed away and Brian Roberts came charging from third. Molina recovered and flipped to Coke who, like Molina on the play before, was in perfect position. Roberts, seeing a glove waiting there to tag him, tried to get around, but Coke would have none of it.

The star of that play was home plate umpire Adrian Johnson. When Roberts popped up after his slide, Johnson looked at him and explained exactly what was going on. Coke had tagged him before he got to home plate. With just two pitches Coke had set down the Orioles in bizarre fashion. The game was still tied.

In the end, Matsui was the star. Jim Johnson dealt him a 95 mph fastball on the inner half, and Matsui laid into it, sending it up into the bleachers and causing a ruckus in the Bronx. Group celebration at home plate, pie in the face, the whole nine yards as the Yankees won their fourth straight game. A 6-3 Red Sox loss in Texas means that they’re back in a tie for first place in the AL East.

While the offense sputtered a bit again, the Yankees’ pitching delivered. After a couple of poor starts, Andy Pettitte came back with a strong performance at home. The bullpen, without Hughes and Mo, finished it off for him. The Yanks have to feel good after that one. Everything seemed to be working just when it needed to be.

Categories : Game Stories

90 Comments»

  1. Salty Buggah says:

    FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!…is what we’re tied for after yesterday win and Red SOx loss!

  2. JGS says:

    One of these days I need to keep a log of how many times Tex makes a play that Giambi wouldn’t have been able to come close to making. I’m thinking it’s around 4-5 per game.

  3. Dela G says:

    i’ve said it 100 times

    this team reminds me of the 2007 red sox

    they have fun

    they come back to win games

    and they are clutch in the late games (the yankees have scored the greatest number of their runs in the 7th inning)

  4. pat says:

    It’s incredible to see BBTN giving the yankees some credit.

  5. Simon B. says:

    Why are people going great googly moogly over a firstbaseman fielding a grounder and throwing home?

    • pat says:

      Because most first basemen don’t field it cleanly and make a throw on the money while running against their arm.

      • Simon B. says:

        It wasn’t on the money though. It was off-line.

        http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.....id=5645171

        I really think Teixeira gets most of his accolades on defense because he makes plays look harder than they really are.

        • Salty Buggah says:

          No it’s because we makes all the right plays usually and that we’ve been watching Giambi struggle at 1B for a looong time. He would have tagged first and he rarely started DPs because he never threw to 2nd or home as Tex has numerous times this year (which even might be more than Giambi did in all of his years with the Yanks).

          • Tom Zig says:

            Hell Tex even threw to 3rd one time this year.

          • Simon B. says:

            He’s an upgrade over Giambi, but I wouldn’t give him a great deal more than that.

            He’s been below average at the position with the lowest standard of defense this year according to UZR. Not big enough sample you say? He’s been below average in his career overall too. He doesn’t generally have much range…

            • Salty Buggah says:

              UZR doesn’t tell all for 1B. He has the 6th best Plus/Minus in the Majors from 2006-2008. And he makes all of those scoops and smart decisions. If you remember when Melky was safe on the infield single against Verlander, it was kinda Miguel Cabrera’s fault. He has like the 2nd best UZR (at leas that’s what someone said that day) but he puts his knee on the ground and his glove is closer to his body. It’s hard to make all the scoops Tex makes look easy and Miggy can’t do, essentially costing his team a run because he doesn’t stretch like Tex.

            • Double-J says:

              He’s an upgrade over Giambi, but I wouldn’t give him a great deal more than that.

              :D

              Oh, wait, you’re serious…

              Saying he’s not “a great deal more than” Giambi is like saying the Titanic had a fender bender with an iceberg…

        • pat says:

          Upon closer inspection it was a little off line but nevertheless thats not a play alot of 1b make. As Buggah said it’s not something we’ve seen in the Bronx in like 7 years.

          • Tank Foster says:

            Not to throw a wrench in everything, but the play by Tex, while good, probably would have been for naught with Jorge catching.

            I take it back…you don’t know what would have happened. But with the ball in the webbing of the catcher’s mitt like that, I’m not sure Jorge has the presence of mind and skill to apply the tag the way Jose did and keep the ball in the glove.

            The next play, with the accurate little flip to Coke while falling away from the plate? No way Jorge makes that play.

            • Spaceman.Spiff says:

              Okay, but maybe Jorge calls a different pitch in that situation, not that the pitch Molina called for wasn’t the right one but perhaps Jorge calls for something that results in a foul out, home run, strikeout, etc. It’s pointless to really try to assume how Posada would’ve played the events that happened when it’s likely that the specific sequence of events would have happened. Maybe if Posada were playing, he hits a two run homer earlier in the game, giving his pitcher more a cushion. No point in even caring about what Posada would’ve done in that situation.

              • Tank Foster says:

                I’ll give you everything in that comment except your last line there. There is most definitely a “point” in dicsussing any player’s defense. The thread started on comparing Tex to Giambi…

    • Clayton says:

      Maybe because he was running to his left and had to make a throw without setting his feet. He made an accurate throw to the correct side of the plate very quickly. The majority of the 1st basemen in baseball do not make that play.

  6. EB says:

    Looking at the coming 5 games against the O’s and A’s, this could be the start of a streak which propels the Yanks into 1st place for good.
    Hopefully the bats can awaken and give Mitre some leeway tomorrow

  7. Grammar Nazi says:

    It should be Pair of Solo Homers Power Yanks Past Orioles 2-1. not powers. sorry for being a jerk.

  8. “he star of that play was home plate umpire Adrian Johnson. ”

    Who are you and what have you done with Joe P?

    (You’re absolutely right here)

    • Salty Buggah says:

      The rest of the umpires should take notice that if you make the right call, you will become a star…sort of.

      I’m lookin at you Angel Hernandez (who was somehow part of the ASG crew), Wally Bell, and about like 5 more.

  9. pat says:

    Ok forgive me but I’m putting on the lollerskates for a second. Ross Ohlendorf was relieved by nione other than Jeff Karstens in today’s Pirates game. The dynamic duo combined for 8ip and 2 ER. Bwahahaha

  10. BigBlueAL says:

    Hideki Matsui did his best Bubba Crosby impression tonight vs the Orioles.

  11. Little Bill says:

    It was a great win. Andy bounced back nicely. We may win 2-1 again tomorrow with the Mitre on the hill which is not wishful thinking. Mitre will toss a gem and our rotation will be complete.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Or he could tank furthering more reasons why Hughes should be in that fifth role. Though I never wish any Yankee a bad performance, him being good or bad will be helpful.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        And it IS the Orioles so even if he does tank coming back in the game is not a hard task for the Yanks.

      • Todd says:

        Why should Hughes be in the fifth role? If that was the case, who is to say we win those two games against the Tigers. Do you not remember when our bullpen sucked? The fifth starter has been questionable for the Yanks all year. But this team really took off when the bullpen became a strength. It just seems like it is in vogue for fans (and RAB bloggers) to be on the Hughes as the 5th starter without acknowledging the fact that he was, overall, average to below average this year as a starter AND he has stabilized that bridge to Mo role that was a huge problem for this team. They are winning! Why mess with that?

        Why do I feel like a minority of one on this issue?

        • ranger11 says:

          I agree, but we’d probably be still in the minority. Hughes definitely needs to be a starter in the future. They need to solidify the set-up situation for the 7th and 8th. Bruney seems to be in complete exile.

        • JobaWockeeZ says:

          Because a starter > reliever. It’s that simple. Sure Phil wasn’t astounding as a starter but he has potential to be a very good starter. We could always get a bullpen arm from a trade or use someone in the minors like Mitre. The bullpen sucked because people were getting walked left and right. Well we lose Jose Veras and Albie in now in the minors. Plus they aren’t as worked as before since starters are going 7 or 8.

          I know how I say that people overreact to Hughes as being a “savior” of the rotation because he is just decent as a starter. But for me I want him out there as a starter to help him develop into a great starter in the future rather than him saving our rotation that has to suck since Wang is in it. I hear that a lot and frankly that gets rather annoying with all that selective memory going on.

          Plus that stabilized bridge to Mo is so overrated it’s not even funny. Why can’t we use a bunch of guys who we know can get the job done? Why must there be a defined role? Closers I can get sure. But if Bruney comes back to form we have him, a hopefully effective Marte, Coke, Aceves, Melacon/Robertson if they get it together, and possibly another reliever we could get in a trade taking out Tomko.

          Sure Hughes is plain nasty in the bullpen and he might not be as nasty int he rotation, but I’d rather have him in the rotation so he can get nasty int he future. Same goes with Joba.

          Focusing on the now and disregarding the future isn’t a good way to handle any team.

          • ranger11 says:

            I agee that he should be a starter. I just love the feeling of a reliever coming in and shoving the bats up their asses instead of walking everybody. I’m not saying it’s rational.

            • JobaWockeeZ says:

              Well yeah it’s nice to see Hughes just murder almost everyone he faces.

              But it’ll be nicer if he could do that as a starter while the Yanks can more easily replace that in the bullpen.

              As long as he gets his innings this year and goes to the rotation next year then I won’t mind. Then he might do some random league trying to get a better feel for that change up again.

          • Tank Foster says:

            “Focusing on now” would mean abusing Hughes, meaning pitching him 130 innings in relief, or jerking him back and forth from starter to reliever.

            The starting rotation has been unstable because of Wang. I happen to think that the fact that they have held the line with Hughes as a reliever amid all the uncertainty of the rotation suggests that the are thinking about the future, and protecting him.

            He’s 23. There won’t be any trouble getting him stretched out to starting pitcher proportions next season.

          • DCR says:

            Hughes can hit his innings cap as a reliever. Taking Hughes out of the bullpen this year makes the Yankees a worse team. The only relievers that have shown any form of consistency this year (outside of Rivera and Hughes) are Aceves and Coke. You have no idea what Marte and Bruney are going to give you. On top of that, Melancon doesn’t look ready and Robertson is on another bad stretch. The Yankees should go get a starter.

          • Todd says:

            I agree that a starter is > than a reliever. But is having an average fifth starter > a great bullpen? And I think a lot of people forget what it was like when the bullpen sucked.

            Regarding the bridge to Mo being overrated. I disagree. Maybe I am being emotional too, but I guess I remember the championship years when the strength of the team was the bullpen. From Mo to Wettland (spelling) & all the years with Nelson/Stanton to Mo. While the starters seemed to be very good, the bullpen seemed to be outstanding. And I think that was the main difference between the Braves and the Yanks during that era.

        • Bo says:

          Anyone that wants Hughes as a starter right now is clueless.

          Apparently they would love an average bullpen with no set up man. Or did watching Veras and Ramirez and Robertson and Marte etc make you feel well?

  12. ShuutoHeat says:

    Beautiful win tonight.

    Tex continues to remind us why we pay him what we pay him.

    Funny how A-rod had to remind Matsui to toss his helmet into the air when rounding third :P

  13. Tom Zig says:

    We have only seen this guy once in his career…trouble

  14. BenBadler Jesus Montero with another HR. Some in #Yankees front office think he’s the org’s best prospect since Jeter. No argument here
    about 2 hours ago from web

  15. Tom Zig says:

    Well at least SI gives the Yankees credit for their performance.

  16. Kingjoe793 says:

    With the Yankees needing another pitcher (not roy halladay unless red sox try to jump into that bidding) we should look around i wouldnt like to continue a season a started down and maybe going into the post season like that would it hurt to ask about dan haren i mean its only asking ?

  17. ranger11 says:

    Anybody see that play at the end of the Twins/A’s game? That guy was safe by a mile. If that had happened to end a Yankee game I wonder what the reaction would be on this site.

    • Little Bill says:

      lol, half of Cuddyer’s leg was sitting on home plate before he got the tag down. If it had happened to the Yankees, there would be 1,000 comments in the game thread and half of them would be one word expletives. I wonder if the ump will claim it’s one of those “the ball beat you so you’re out” like happened to Jeter.

      • Bob C says:

        ya if you watch the replay you can clearly see the umpire making the out call before the tag was even applied or he got to the plate

  18. I finally got to sit up close (Sec. 126, Row 16) at the NYS and it was absolutely incredible. I haven’t sat that close for a game in a REALLY long time and you really do get an entirely different view of the game from up-close–not to mention a view of Kate Hudson.

  19. mryankee says:

    Foregive me for going off topic but I saw this on mlb network-Mets turned down trade for Halladay for Fernando martinez-Bobby Parnell Jon Niese and I think one other prospect. Any validity to this? and if so does that seem like a good package for Halladay?

    • V says:

      Apparently it’s been debunked.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets did turn down some sort of offer though, as they are NOT one stud pitcher away from contention.

      Heck, they need all of their top prospects just to field a 9 man lineup.

      • Bo says:

        You do realize teams also plan for the next season when they make trades and a rotation of Santana-Halladay would be pretty good right? That’s also knowing that Beltran and Reyes come back and they hit the FA market to add a stick at 1b and in LF. Not like he would be accepting a trade to the Pirates.

        • Zach says:

          Wilpon lost 700m, regardless of what they say that HAS to have some affect. They have 30m coming off the payroll, but Doc is going to want an extension (probably close to 100m), add Doc, a new 1B (only LaRoche and Johnson available) and a new LF and their payroll is raised, can they handle that? Mets arent the Yankees

          Mets have 0 chance of winning this year, why accept a trade to somewhere that you might have a chance to win next year, when you could be traded somewhere that gives you a chance to win this year and next year?

    • Reggie C. says:

      Keith Law says its not true. Then again, Espn would hate to see Cnnsi beat them to a Halladay scoop. Such is the industry..

    • Jake H says:

      Can’t trade a player who is on the DL which Martinez is. He isn’t eligible to come off the DL until the 25th.

      • Zach says:

        they would have probably done PTBNL and once Fmart is healthy they’d announce it he’s part of the deal

  20. Joe R says:

    ” Last night’s game was a tense one right up until Hideki Matsui relieved it with a blast into the bleachers.”

    ICWUDT

  21. Tank Foster says:

    Watching Hideki, my wife says “I’m so happy for him. He seems like he’s sort of alone on that team.” I was thinking how nice it would be to get a WS win for him before he moves on, probably back to Japan. Especially after watching the Mussina Yankeeography after the game, and being reminded how sad it was that he never got his ring.

  22. pete c. says:

    Does anyone think Jorgie would have blocked the plate like Molina did on the Texiera throw.

  23. pete c. says:

    I still don’t see Possada making thaT TAG.

  24. [...] Matsui started the new week off with a bang, launching a walk-off homer in the series opener against the O’s on Monday. Sergio Mitre’s pinstriped debut was [...]

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