Tex & Chavez carry Yanks to split in Detroit

Austin & Sanchez homer in Tampa win
Mailbag: Pena, Heathcott, Bleich, September

After losing eight straight agonizing one-run games, it was nice to be on the other side of the ledger for once. The Yankees took the finale of the four-game series with the Tigers on Thursday afternoon, using a late rally and some seriously clutch relief pitching to earn the split. It was their first one-run win since the big comeback off Scott Downs, the very first game after the All-Star break.

(Leon Halip/Getty Images)


They say the Yankees can’t hit homers in big ballparks or off good pitchers or in late-inning clutch situations, but they did all of that to win this game. Down 3-2 heading into the eighth against uber-setup man Joaquin Benoit, the Bombers stayed true to their moniker and used a pair of one-out solo homers from Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez to tie the game and then take the lead. The back-to-back dingers came on consecutive pitches, and Tex’s shot was yanked down the line to right field while Chavez went the other way to left. That was really impressive.

Believe it or not, the homer was Teixeira’s fourth game-tying blast in the seventh inning or later this season. The rest of the Yankees have three. Chavez now has a dozen homers on the year and is on a 33-homer pace across 600 plate appearances, all while hitting a cool .289/.347/.526 on the season. That is in-his-prime type of stuff from the former Athletic. You just can’t say enough about how amazing he’s been this year, stepping up to produce in a big way while helping cover for various injuries. This game had all the look of another disappointing one-run loss, but Teixeira and Chavez came up with some enormous hits.

(Leon Halip/Getty Images)


I’ve never been much of a Rafael Soriano defender, but that was without a doubt his biggest performance of the season and maybe of his Yankees career. Not only did he get a four-out save in a one-run game while pitching for the second straight day, he also pitched around a first-and-third, no outs jam in the ninth by inducing three weak pop-ups. Other than a strikeout, that’s the best possible outcome of an at-bat in that situation. Furthermore, Miguel Cabrera was waiting on deck when the last out was recorded, so the margin of error was as small as it gets. That was a big boy save if I’ve ever seen one, Soriano came up huge.

While we’re at it, we also have to give Clay Rapada and David Phelps some props for their work in the seventh and eighth. Rapada retired the two lefties he faced with a man on second to end the seventh, then Phelps came in to navigate around Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Austin Jackson in the eighth. David Robertson was unavailable after throwing 35 pitches on Wednesday, and Joba Chamberlain was unavailable after throwing 20+ pitches on both Monday and Tuesday. Phelps fell behind Miggy 3-0 but battled back to get him to fly out, and while Fielder singled, he was able to retire A-Jax on a little fly ball to right. That was some serious work by the rookie, bravo.

(Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Ump Show

The umpiring crew was legit bad in this one. Third base ump Tim Welke initially called a ball that landed directly on the line foul before changing his mind and signaling fair, though it’s unclear if that actually impacted Raul Ibanez‘s pursuit of the ball. Either way, Welke jumped the gun on the call and made a mess of things. Joe Girardi came out to argue, got tossed, and apparently tried to protest the game. First base ump Tony Randazzo also blew a call on an Omar Infante infield single — replays showed he was out by half-a-step if not more. That didn’t lead to any scoring, however. And, of course, home plate ump Todd Tichenor had a goofy strike zone. Unfortunately this is just par for the course these days.


The final pitching line isn’t anything special — 6.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 7/5 GB/FB — but Hiroki Kuroda made basically one bad pitch all afternoon, and that was the pitch Alex Avila hit for the game-tying two-run homer in the fifth. Other than that, he got infield singled and blooped and dunked to death. It was ugly as all hell, but Kuroda still managed to turn in a quality start, his 11th in his last 14 starts. The dinger by Avila was the first Hiroki has surrendered in four starts.

(Leon Halip/Getty Images)


The Yankees scored their first two runs with two outs in the second inning, when Ibanez tripled (!) in Chavez and Ichiro Suzuki singled in Ibanez. The old guys were getting it done early. Ichiro also drew his first walk as a Yankee in this game, his 16th since the trade.

The bottom five hitters in the order went a combined 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles, a triple, and a homer. The top four hitters didn’t do much of anything — 3-for-18 (.167) — outside of Teixeira’s homer, but sometimes the guys on the bottom have to pick the big bats up.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

Now that is a fun graph, as long as you’re pulling for the team is on the bottom. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays won and the Orioles lost, so both clubs are now six games back of the Yankees in the loss column in the AL East race.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees are taking a short trip up to Toronto and will open a three-game weekend series against the Blue Jays on Friday night. Freddy Garcia will be opposed by southpaw Ricky Romero.

Austin & Sanchez homer in Tampa win
Mailbag: Pena, Heathcott, Bleich, September
  • Rey22

    Chavez has been insane this year. Crazy good production from a guy that was supposed to occasionally start a game or 2 a week, maybe PH here and there. Can’t imagine where the Yankee’s 3B production would be without him since A-Rod went down.

    • http://yankeesblogtbnl.blogspot.com Derek

      Can’t say enough about Chavez as of late. I guess it’s just him finally staying healthy for an extended period of time.

  • VT Yankee Fan

    I found this to be hilarious: http://i.imgur.com/RsNcq.gif (sfw)

    • pat

      Top 10 Gif this year no doubt.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Great win. With A-Rod out Tex and Chavy doing work, a nice come from behind win of a close game. Hirok had a good start and some bats stepped up. Well played guys

    Also: Lolz at Nets fans.

  • Brian S.

    Apparently John Lackey had an open Bud Light in each hand after the game in the Red Sox clubhouse. lololololol

    • Kramerica Industries

      Man I miss that bastard and his ability to suck.

      At least the Yankees got innings out of AJ Burnett. Mr. Bulldog couldn’t come close.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    I missed this game but saw yesterday’s shitfest of a win. What. The. Fuck.

    Oh well. I guess I DID see “the game that turned the season around: part two” (I am referring, of course, to the shitfest win mentioned previously).

  • Bavarian Yankee

    good win against the umps … ehm … sorry, I meant Tigers.

    btw: did anybody know that the Orioles are 45-0 when they’re leading after the 7th? That’s pretty sick.

    • OMG! Bagels!

      That’s because the other team says, “The Orioles are beating us in the 7th? Screw this, I’m going home.”

  • hirokichiro

    A blanket rule that judgement calls cannot be protested is simply not smart. If the judgement call is made on a ball in play (that is after a hit) following a faulty/ambiguous decision (on something objectively discernable), then such a judgement call should not be protest-proof since the error in umpiring makes the basis of the call moot.

    It is understandable that a judgement call cannot be protested in general (as balls and strikes are judgement calls as well), however it should not be universally applicable rule.

    • Arnie

      I think what Girardi was protesting is that once a batted ball is called foul it is immediately a dead ball. The only time this can be changed is on a home run. If Welke called the ball foul, he then can’t change it to fair. Joe didn’t want to protest his judgement, he was saying that he called it foul and therefore can’t change his call. I’m sure Welke was saying that he never called it foul despite his arm motions.

      • Hirokichiro

        No, pls see the post game interview. The dispute was with the umpires not accepting the protest on grounds that even though a mistake was made, they felt that the judgement call was being made that the runners would advance and score, regardless. Judgement calls in general cannot be protested. My point was to the effect that if a mistake was made in an objective call before the aforementined judgement call then it cannot be immune to an official protest.

  • Pat D

    I admit I’m a bad Yankees fan. Somehow I let myself get caught up in the Olympics this year after vowing not to do so. I guess it’s the combination of London and not having a job.

    I found myself much more psyched today for the women’s soccer and water polo finals, which of course aired at the same time. Fortunately, USA won both.

    Now we just need a few more track medals, the women’s volleyball team and both basketball teams so we can beat China in the medal counts.

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      U.S. soccer was awesome. Nice to legitimately redeem ourselves from that last world cup. Water polo was cool, too.

      And the only reason I knew the results of these as they happened and not the Yankee game is because I happened to be out with my family today and these games were on at the restaurant.

      I am outraged that any of you would suggest I am somehow a bad Yankee fan. Outraged, I say.

  • captain kiwi

    after finishing an entire bottle of an italian red (and working on my 3rd rum ampersand coke), i’ve got to say – girardi is the baseball version of gordon ramsay.

    • OMG! Bagels!

      Did he call the umpires donkeys? He should have. He was hilarious. He was still mad after the game.

  • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    Unfortunately this is just par for the course these days.(About bad umpiring) I cannot believe we just put up with this shit. There needs to be some check/balance to professional umpiring.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    The Yankees played a good game yesterday. Its hard to beat a team who is hitting with some good luck. Two balls dunked down the left field line in front of Ibanez, Soft hits in the infield etc. If you saw the game no further explanations are necessary. Hideki pitched well. The guy keeps us in the game. Thats all you can ask of a pitcher especially facing decent hitting lineups. Cabrera and Fielder are no chumps.

    When you can argue that balking Bob Davis had the best series of the umps. You know it wasn’t pretty.

    Chavez and Teix. were just clutch. Soriano shows his stuff. As much as everyone wants him to opt. out. Look before you leap. His pitch location to the last three batters to induce pop ups was masterful. All inside pitches. Phil H. this is your key location, location and location.

    Mr. Phelps as much as I would like him to be in the rotation. I was glad that he was available for the eight and he hung in there.

    Joe Girardi needs to argue more often.

  • Brett


    • rek4gehrig


  • http://RiverAveBlues Andy K

    The ‘uber’ set up man who has given up something like ten homers in his last 14 innings.
    Sporiano got himself into the bad situation so bragging how great he was closing the game is nonsense.
    Once that ump through up his hands that was it. No judgement call after that as far as I’m concerned.
    Fabulous win though.

  • Kosmo

    it´s great to see Chavez and Ichiro go opposite field. Take note Nick Swisher !

  • Steve (different one)

    According to Sterling, the ump first called it foul, then fair, then catcher’s interference, then he said Ibanez trapped it, then a balk on Kuroda.

  • 28 this year

    Wow the Red Sox are still 3 games under .500. Everything is broken up in Beantown. I would love to see them finish under .500 for no other reason than to hopefully cause panic.

    • Steve (different one)

      Bobby V!

  • Eddard

    We’ll look back on Girardi’s tirade as the turning point of the season. The team played inspired after he fought for them like that. And he was right. When the ump calls it foul, it’s foul, dead ball. Thank God we’re away from that ump crew. That has to be the worst crew in the game.

  • mt

    Also I find it funny that Girardi, after having obsessed so much about having Grandy bat leadoff to break up lefties in case a lefty reliever would be brought in, (after a baby step of dropping Grandy to sixth the night before which still had the normal only 2 lefties in a row) would start 4(!) lefty batters in a row. I guess after Phil Coke’s performance on Wednesday he was no longer that scared of lefty relievers coming in.

    (I am kidding but I do think that batting Grandy first because of lefty reliever “fear” was a little overmanaging – also now with McGeehee, Jones, and Nix we certainly have some pretty good right handed pinch hitting options so lefty reliever “fear” should not have been that big of a deal.)

    • Steve (different one)

      I don’t think that’s quite the same situation, because Ibanez has a caddy. If they bring in a lefty, like you said, you just go to Jones.

      With Granderson and Cano, you aren’t going to PH those guys.

  • Jim Is Bored

    Only 30 comments in a recap thread; we must have won last night!

    • Bunt Gardner

      Tex and Chavez sent the trolls slithering back to their lairs.