The Yankees really needed this kind of game. After Tuesday night’s disappointing and frustrating loss, they had to come out strong and in charge against the Rangers.
Up 3-0 after the second inning, the Yankees behind a strong Andy Pettitte did not disappoint. They grabbed the lead early and held it behind some timely defense and aggressive pitching by Pettitte. Then, the bats came alive in the 7th to lead the Bombers to a 9-2 win. It was their 42nd home win of the year and Major League-leading 79th victory.
The game started out on a rough note for the Yankees. Following an Ian Kinsler strike out, A-Rod bobbled a ground ball for an error. Josh Hamilton singled to right, Nelson Cruz walked, and the Rangers were one hit away from breaking this one wide open early on. Pudge, though, would not disappoint Yankee fans, and he hit a sharp grounder to A-Rod. 5-4-3. Two outs. Inning over.
After that, Pettitte cruised. Jorge Posada blasted a three-run home run into deep center field in the second, and behind another double play in the third, Andy faced three batters each in the second, third and fourth. In the fifth, he ran into a spot of trouble when Chris Davis scored on a David Murphy double. Pettitte held the Rangers there though.
In the sixth, Pettitte again faced just three hitters thanks to a double play. It was the third of four the Yanks would turn last night. David Murphy struck again in the 7th, this time with a solo home run. That would be all for the Rangers’ scoring chances. They loaded the bases with one out in the 8th against an ineffective Brian Bruney, but Pudge hit into his second double play of the night. The Rangers would not threaten again.
For the Yankee bats, it was business as usual. They plated 9 runs on 10 hits and seemed business-like in scoring five runs in the 7th. These guys like to score runs.
While the injuries to Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez — updates here — put a little bit of a damper on the game, I can’t recap this one without a tip of the cap to Andy Pettitte. He went 7 strong, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 7 and improved to 11-6 on the season. Since the All Star Break, Pettitte has thrown 51.2 innings and has struck out 54. The David Murphy home run was just the second he has allowed since the break.
We’ll have a lot more on Pettitte in the morning, but a quick thought on his future right now: As I watched Pettitte’s post-game interview, this did not sound like a man on the verge of retiring. He may be 37, he said, but 37 isn’t old. He feels great; he’s throwing great; and he doesn’t want to stop.
He also dropped in an interesting tidbit about Posada. “Jorgie called a great game,” he said of the recently embattled Yankee catcher. A crisp win is always a great game.