The good news: the good Andy Pettitte showed up last night. The bad news: the offense didn’t. Blame the umpire if you will — the Yanks did strike out looking seven times — but it was an all around poor offensive effort. It’s tough to win games when you only score two runs, and the Yankees weren’t an exception tonight. They tied the game up late, but lost in the bottom of the ninth, 3-2.
Pettitte did his part. He allowed just five baserunners over 6.1 innings. He threw strikes all night, 71 percent, which again was partly owed to the unnecessarily large strike zone. It resulted in eight strikeouts and two runs, one of which was unearned amid an inning full of defensive mistakes. While the walk-off put the nail in the coffin, that one inning did in the Yanks.
The seventh started off oddly, with Pettitte slipping while in pursuit of a Jim Thome tapper. What should have been an easy out netted the Sox a baserunner. Pettitte recovered with a strikeout, but then A.J. Pierzynski smacked one A-Rod‘s way, and it hit off his glove for a single. That was it for Pettitte.
Phil Hughes almost brought the inning to an end by inducing a ground ball right to A-Rod. He tossed to Cano, who could have gotten Carlos Quentin if not for Pierzynski’s slide, which caused him to throw off-line. Teixeira couldn’t corral it in time and Thome scored the go-ahead run. WIth Gavin Floyd rolling, things looked a bit dark for the Yanks.
The top of the ninth did little to lend optimism. Both A-Rod and Matsui struck out swinging to start the inning. That left Nick Swisher, 0 for 3 at that point with three strikeouts himself. But on an 0-1 count, Matt Thonton put one in Swisher’s wheelhouse, and it left the park, tying the game.
The bottom half wouldn’t be so kind. After getting Jermaine Dye to pop up to Jorge Posada, Phil Hughes gave up two straight singles, a bouncing ball towards no one in particular to Jim Thome, and a legit shot to Paul Konerko. Girardi called on Phil Coke, who got A.J. Pierznyski to fly out, but gave up a game-winning single on an up the middle line drive to Dewayne Wise.
It’s always tough to lose these games, but they happen here and there. Could Girardi have gone to Mo in the ninth? I think it’d have been a better decision than pitching him with a four-run lead on Wednesday night. Again, with the winning run in scoring position — as in, if he scores the game is over — you want your best guy on the mound so you have a chance to fight another inning. Managers never do that, so I’ve come to grips with it, but it still irks me every time. Especially, again, when said closer pitched with a four-run lead the night before.
As the Yanks have proven, the bats can come alive after a dead night, and that’s what they’ll hope for tomorrow. It’s Sergio Mitre vs. Clayton Richard. Splitting the four-game set with Chicago would be nice at this point, so a win tomorrow could go a long way.