Sep
22

Ibanez leads Yankees to miraculous extra innings win over Athletics

By

The 15-9 comeback win over the Red Sox in Fenway Park back in April was absolutely amazing, but Saturday’s comeback win over the Athletics was the best win of the season. It had everything from bitter disappointment to incredible highs, multiple times as well. It was a game that championship caliber teams win, if I do say so myself.

You can smile Melky, you’re off the hook. (Mike Stobe/Getty)

A Little English

There’s only one way to recap this game, and that’s backwards. The Yankees and A’s were tied at nine after 13 innings, and one of the few pitchers left in the bullpen was the imminently hittable Cory Wade. Things looked pretty dire, so on Twitter I proudly proclaimed that…


Well, Wade did toss up a zero, and the Yankees did win in the bottom half. The game-winning rally all started with a little ground ball single from Eric Chavez, who entered the game off the bench like so many others. Melky Mesa made his big league debut as a pinch-runner, and as you’d expect with no outs, Derek Jeter bunted him over to scoring position. Considering how hot Ichiro Suzuki has been, it was an easy decision to bunt. Unfortunately the Athletics quickly issued ball four intentionally, pressing Alex Rodriguez into the big spot. He came through with the game-winning single … until Mesa missed third base while running and had to retreat to the bag. The game was over, but the rookie made a rookie mistake at the most inopportune of times.

That brought Robinson Cano to the plate with one out and the bases loaded, but he took some bad hacks and grounded back to pitcher Tyson Ross. Ross made a nice flopping play to get the force at home for the second out. Not for nothing, but Robbie’s been invisible at late. The Yankees need him to pick it up. Anyway, that left it up to Eduardo Nunez, the team’s third third baseman of the day. He fell behind in the count 1-0 before hitting a weak ground off the end of the bat to first to end the inning … until Brandon Moss booted it for the walk-off error. After all that, the game was decided on a routine grounder. As Athletics manager Bob Melvin would say after the game, the ball just had a little English.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Bombs Away

You can’t have an amazing win like this without a little heartbreak. Freddy Garcia, pitching for the first time in what feels like an eternity, was the proverbial last man out of the bullpen and gave the team three shutout innings — he needed Steve Pearce to made a great diving stop at first to escape a bases loaded jam in the 11th — before completely imploding the second time through the order. Jonny Gomes hit a two-run homer to break the five-all tie in the 13th, then Yoenis Cespedes tacked on another run with a solo homer. Justin Thomas took over for Garcia and promptly gave up a solo homer to Chris Carter to give the A’s a four-run lead.

At that point, the game looked to be over. Scoring four runs is tough to do in any inning, nevermind the bottom of the 13th. I would have been happy if the Yankees managed to bring the tying run to the plate just so they didn’t go down without a fight, and three singles later they had the bases loaded with nobody out. Pretty good, I’d say. Ichiro scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch, then Nunez plated the second with a sacrifice fly. With Cano at second and one out, Raul Ibanez unloaded on a flat 89 mph sinker from Pat Neshek in a 3-1 count. The ball landed about halfway up the second deck in right, a classic no-doubt Ibanez blast to complete the comeback and tie the game back up. It was a jaw-dropping homer. Clutch, unexpected, and blissful. Here was the reaction in the dugout.

Order Restored

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

We’ll get to Ivan Nova in a second, but right now all you need to know is that he failed to complete even three innings of work. With the right-handed trio of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and David Phelps all unavailable due to their recent workloads, asking the bullpen to soak up that many innings was not a good thing.

Clay Rapada cleaned up Nova’s bases loaded mess in the third with a 1-2-3 double play before allowing two runs in the fourth. Derek Lowe took over for the lefty and pitched well, allowing just one run — after he’d left the game — in 2.1 innings. The first few innings were chaotic, but Lowe really stepped up and calmed things down in the middle innings. Boone Logan allowed the runner he inherited from Lowe to score on a sacrifice fly before running into a bases loaded jam in the eighth. Cody Eppley bailed him out by getting Cespedes to fly out. There were like, ten big outs in this game, and that was surely one of them.

Joba was the closer du jour — I suspect it was him or Logan depending on the matchups — and tossed in a perfect ninth inning. He gave way to Garcia in the tenth. All told, the bullpen allowed six runs on ten hits and four walks in 11.2 innings. They struck out nine, and most of that damage came in the four-run 13th inning. When it was all said and done, the only arm left in the bullpen was Adam Warren, who hasn’t thrown in weeks. Even with the expanded rosters, the Yankees were pushed to their pitching limit.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Ivan Nova Owes The Offense

In his second start back from the DL, Nova was not good at all. The first three hitters he faced hit doubles for a quick two-run deficit, then Stephen Drew tacked on a solo homer in the third. He walked two and allowed seven of the 14 men he faced to reach base. Considering how well he pitched against the Rays last weekend, this was a big disappointment. Nova was back to allowing extra-base hits by the bucketful and laboring through each inning.

Luckily for him, the offense bailed him. Travis Blackley couldn’t locate his curveball at all, and the Yankees scored three runs in the first inning to take a two-run lead. Ichiro hit a solo homer, Cano singled in a run (great slide by A-Rod to avoid the tag), and Andruw Jones drew a bases loaded walk. One inning later, Cano made it 4-2 when he trotted home on a wild pitch. The Bombers plated their fifth run in the fifth when Ibanez came off the bench and hit a pinch-hit solo homer. He was replacing Casey McGehee against a right-hander and had come into the game in a 0-for-18 rut. It was his first homer since August 5th, forty-four team games ago.

Leftovers

Thud. (Mike Stobe/Getty)

Let’s get the historic stuff out of the way first. This was the second time in franchise history that the Yankees came back from down four runs in extra innings to tie the game. Not sure when the other instance was, but safe to say it was not recent. The 13th inning was the first time in Athletics history they hit three homers in one extra inning and also the first time they blew a four-run lead in extras. That’s pretty great.

The game as a whole was a fundamental nightmare. Blackley got called for a balk in the first, several outfielders lost the ball in the sun, and three total errors were charged (all by Oakland). Cano let a dinky ground ball get through the right side in the 11th because he slowed up thinking Nick Swisher would reel it in at first, and Swisher didn’t make it to second when Josh Reddick misplayed a fly ball because he didn’t hustle out of the box. All of that is on top of Mesa’s misstep. Tom Emanski would not have approved.

Ibanez was the player of the game and not just because of the two homers. He dunked a bloop into shallow center and turned it into a double with pure hustle, beating the throw from Cespedes. He was running on contact on Martin’s ground ball to second and was thrown out at the plate later in the inning, but not before plowing into catcher Derek Norris. Ibanez went 3-for-4 off the bench including the two big homers and the hustle double. Great day for him after a mostly miserable second half.

Jeter did extend his hitting streak to 16 games in the sixth, so he didn’t need extra innings to keep the streak alive. Ichiro had three more hits including the homer, but was also thrown out on the bases by Cespedes for the second straight day. He’s gone 14-for-20 (.700) with three doubles, two homers, and five steals in the last five games. Ho hum. A-Rod (three), Cano (two), Ibanez (three), and Swisher (two) all had multiple hits as well. The only position player not to appear in the game was Frankie Cervelli, which sucks for him.

Pinch-runner Chris Dickerson deserves credit for stealing second in the ninth even though his teammates couldn’t bring him home. The Yankees still managed to go 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position despite scoring ten runs, and that nonsense needs to stop. Curtis Granderson replaced Andruw in the third inning and drew a pair of walks but also couldn’t get the go-ahead run in from third with one out in the eighth — he popped up in foul territory. Jayson Nix singled and bunted, one of three sacrifices on the day. One was Ichiro in the sixth with a one-run lead, which was crazy. Dude is the hottest hitter on the planet, swing the bat!

The Yankees have won seven straight, their second longest winning streak of the season behind the ten-gamer in June. They’ve also won a dozen of their last 16 games, which is pretty cool.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com  has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles beat the pathetic Red Sox again, so they remain one back in the loss column. The magic number to clinch the division did drop to the 11 though, and the magic number to clinch a postseason berth is just six. It could be five by the end of the night depending on what happens with the Angels.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees will look to finish off the sweep on Sunday afternoon, when Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball against rookie right-hander A.J. Griffin. Check out RAB Tickets for some last minute deals.

Categories : Game Stories

89 Comments»

  1. Austin Aunelowitzky (formerly Paul VuvuZuvella) says:

    “It was a game that championship caliber teams win, if I do say so myself.”
    HaHa. Spoken like a champ.

  2. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    The last 4-run comeback in extras came in 1980. Willie Randolph had a game tying 3-run double in the tenth before Bucky Dent came through with a walk off RBI double in the 13th.

    http://www.baseball-reference......9170.shtml

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      Ron Davis struck out 3 of the first 4 hitters in the Blue Jays 4 run 10th, an inning that included a 3-run inside the park HR. I can only imagine what the game thread would have been like had RAB existed then.

    • Tom Q says:

      I was AT that game, and there’s something not being told about it: it was a suspended game.

      Here’s what happened: the Yanks and Jays played a game the night before that went into extras (my memory is the Yanks tied it late, but I could be wrong about that). The Jays plated a quick two runs in the top of the 10th, and then it started raining like holy hell. The umpires eventually suspended the game till the following evening.

      I was, as I say, there that next night. When play was resumed, the Jays got a single, then Joe Lefebrve (I believe now the hitting coach in SF) let a ball slip right under his glove in the outfield for an inside-the-parker.

      Toronto figured the way to go was to have their starter pitch the final three outs, then, after a short break, pitch the regular game as well. Since it was their one all-star, Dave Stieb, it seemed a foolproof plan. But, as you’ve indicated, the Yankees got first one run in (without, as I recall, a ball leaing the infield), then Randolph hit a ball in the Death Valley gap that cleared the bases. An hour or so later, Johnny Oates scored the winning run.

      Stieb never started the second game; a guy we’d never heard of at the time, Luis Leal, did instead (he went on to have a pretty solid career). The irony: he outpitched Tommy John 2-0. The game that looked surely lost the Yanks won; the game that seemed to favor the they lost.

      I thought at the time I’d never seen anything as amazing. Then, I think a week later, I saw a game end with Toby Harrah (representing the tying run) getting hit by a batted ball in fair territory off third.

      That was a fun Fall. (Though the post-season sucked)

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        Wow, sounds like it was quite the game. Thanks for filling in the details.

      • RetroRob says:

        Joe Lefebvre. Wow, I forgot about him, but I remember him. In my youth, I was convinced he was going to be an excellent player. He wasn’t a big guy, but a lefty who seemed to have the right swing for the Stadium, and he knew how to take a walk. I guess even then I appreciated that skill.

        What I do remember is Lefebvre had a great arm from RF, probably one of the top five of any Yankee OFer the past 30 years.

    • RetroRob says:

      Not recent? What’s 32-years amongst friends.

      Yup, I remember that game. Seriously.

  3. dkidd says:

    that graph is vertigo-inducing

  4. JGS says:

    This was the second time in franchise history that the Yankees came back from down four runs in extra innings to tie the game. Not sure when the other instance was, but safe to say it was not recent.

    1980. http://www.baseball-reference......9170.shtml

  5. Brian S. says:

    Sierra Nevada Tumbler=bomb.

  6. Josh says:

    Melquisidec Mesa??

    • Deep Thoughts says:

      At one point I could have sworn Cabrera was a Melchizedek (one of the Three Wise Men) or Melquiades, but I can’t find any record of this being the case. His birth certificate may actually just say “Melky Cabrera.”

      At least Mesa’s mom didn’t make up silly names.

  7. DERP says:

    A-Rod with five times on base today. Very nice. Of course Mesa’s mistake cost him the game-winning hit, so he will probably get booed tomorrow.

  8. Anthony says:

    Awesome WE graph, was looking forward to it. Game gave me a heart attack, but so happy we won.

    Also, its a shame that we can’t have pics next to our handles, especially for Raul/Tom Marvolo:

    http://a.espncdn.com/photo/201.....mb_576.jpg

  9. jim p says:

    Mike Axisa @mikeaxisa
    If Cory Wade tosses up a zero, Yankees win in the bottom half.

    This is precisely what happens after one fully internalizes sabremetrics.

  10. Anthony says:

    At one point, we had a 1.9% chance of winning. Unreal.

  11. DERP says:

    Josh Reddick 0-12 in the series. Even the embedded Red Sox are terrible.

  12. Joe says:

    Mike is a fortune teller genie obviously. Run my stocks.

  13. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    I came in at 4:30, assuming I’d missed the game. The bottom of the ninth hadn’t ended yet.

  14. stuart a says:

    cano still sucks.. may wind up at 280 but maybe get to 85 rbis’s if he gets hot.

    he also has many bad ab’s, where he gets out quickly and is just a complete mess….

  15. Jrod says:

    Made it out to the Stadium today for the first time this season. Me and my bro decided to go this AM. Not a bad game to blunder into. A slew of lightweights left when it went into extras, and even more after the top of the 13th. That’s gotta hurt. Would like more replays on the stadium board, and much less crowd antics. They were even doing the stupid crowd mugging pans going into the bottom of the 13th, after the Yanks had gone down 4 runs. Give it a rest.

    Wanted to see replays of: ARod scoring on the wild pitch with that really nifty & athletic looking hook slide in the 2nd, Ichiro getting thrown out at 3rd, and especially the crazy play in the 14th when it surely looked like Mesa should have scored the winning run on ARod’s single. I thought for sure that blown opportunity was going to cost us and prolong the epic battle of attrition like 5 more innings. I still don’t know if Rob Thomson held him up or what. No replays of any of these shown at the stadium.

    • Anthony says:

      Nah, Mesa missed the bag. If not the game surely would have been over.

      • Jrod says:

        Thanks. It would have been nice see a replay at the stadium. Nobody in my section knew what happened. I guess you’re expected to be watching the MLB TV feed on the iphone & listening to Sterling & Waldman while you’re AT the game.

  16. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Just beautiful. So proud of this lineup today. So proud of the veterans that get written off so easily sometimes.

    Other than Freddy’s being left out there a bit too long (I understand why the decision was made) and too many moments where getting runners home would have made things much less dramatic, everything from Girardi’s early hook of Nova to that amazing comeback was the act of a team that was out not to lose this game.

    Now I get rewarded by sitting in a luxury suit tomorrow…..for the Mets/Marlins.

  17. forensic says:

    :-(

    Was flying all day and missed it all. Had the DVR set to record 4.5 hours, which means the recording will probably end right when the exciting stuff starts in the 13th.

    That really sucks.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      ….and no YES Network where you’re at, eh? Damn.

      I started watching in the 8th.

      • forensic says:

        Nope, in a hotel in Maryland. I did just watch the 33 minute condensed game on at-bat, so at
        East that’s something. Certainly not the same as watching it live or even recorded in its entirety.

  18. BigBlueAL says:

    Yankees now just 1 game behind Texas for best record in the AL and since they beat them head-to-head 4-3 I assume they have the tie-breaker.

  19. 28 in 2012 says:

    Just finished watching the DVRed game. Disbelief and Elation at the same time.
    Seen many games in my lifetime but wow. Wow!

  20. Today was great, one of the best comebacks I have ever seen. But I’m watching quick pitch…and I’m jealous, both the Giants and Reds locked up their division tonight.

  21. Betty Lizard says:

    Sweet interview with Melky Mesa on yes network.com.
    I’m so relieved — for him– that we won as well as thrilled generally, of course, and I’m glad he faced the press.
    He said, “I wanted to win SO BAD” (after he blundered on the bases).
    I just really like the guy.

  22. This Again? says:

    Gee whiz Mike why don’t you include some of your earlier tweets where you were down in the dumper on the game?

    My what a brave little trooper you were!

  23. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    I think “…and throw a parade…” should become our new go to meme for troll comments.

  24. Pat D says:

    A lot of seismic activity in that WPA graph. Looks like an earthquake hit.

  25. Fin says:

    The highlight of my day with this game was Ibanez. I was totally against the Yankees signing him, but he proved me wrong long ago. I think the man was just worn out from too much fielding time. Welcome back Valamorte :} HOw can you not love what hes done for the Yankees this year, and then the old dirty bastard hustles his ass off for 2 on that single. Swisher should be fucking ashamed!

    His swing is just like Tino’s..made for Yankee Stadium.

    • RetroRob says:

      Regarding Ibanez, he’s a very streaky hitter. I’ve been hoping he has one last hot streak in him. That would be great, because they usually last a month or more. He could help carry the Yankees through October. Timing is everything.

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      In ST I said:

      Swings like Tino
      Looks like Gandhi
      Runs like Jorge.

      Amended: runs better than Jorge

      • Kosmo says:

        I always liked Ibanez and was hoping this past offseason NY would sign him. He´s a late bloomer, his career didn´t really begin to take off until he was 29-30 yrs old. He´s averaged roughly 25 HRs and 100 RBI over a 10 year span. Not bad. He has to me shown a lot of persistence this season as well as being a solid professional. Cano take note !

  26. matt says:

    I think that in regards to particular players, I’m generally not that sentimental a fan. I love the Yankees with everything in me, but since I’ve been a fan, I’ve rooted for the uniform much more so than the individuals wearing it (I’m not heartless…I still have not been able to watch video of Mo going down on that track in KC…but I take as much joy in Soriano’s saves as I do in Mo’s – my basic feeling is that the core guys have enough fans who love them personally to death, and they deserve it, but they don’t need anything from me, even though Pettitte and Mariano have esp. special places in my heart)…and maybe it’s just today, that kind of game…I don’t know if Raul Ibanez is going to be on the postseason roster, I don’t know right this second whether I think he should be…he’s an awfully limited player at this point in his career…but my goodness, everything he did today…in my perfect Yankee world, just no one I’d rather see catch lighting and just be an absolute beast down the stretch…what a classy, classy, ballsy professional

  27. RetroRob says:

    The father of a woman I’ve been seeing for a while called me on my cell to talk about the game. He’s never called me before about anything. We get along great, but he’s nearly 80 and men that age generally don’t call to chit-chat. Anyway, he’s seen a lot of baseball over the years, and he’s not even a Yankee fan (although he likes the team), but he was so taken by this game, down to the drama of the kid (as he called him) who missed the bag at third in his first MLB game, nearly costing the Yankees the win, that he had to call someone to talk about it. He obviously knows my passion for the game. Melky Mesa added a bit of human drama that he just couldn’t resist and found himself rooting extra hard for the Yankees to win the game because he didn’t want Melky’s intro to the majors to end badly.

    This game was a showcase of both how painful baseball can be, and how great baseball can be, and why it’s still the greatest out of all the professional sports.

    I can only imagine the insanity of the game thread.

  28. Deep Thoughts says:

    I thought it was Nunez and Mesa that had a little English.

  29. Rich in NJ says:

    Some luck is starting to even out in their favor.

  30. dc1874 says:

    …Yanks win and Sterling loses his voice!!! Doesnt get any better than that!!!

  31. Fin says:

    Esh, great game. Nova still has work to do. Damn the dude gets hit hard. Everything he threw was dead center of the plate. Gota hope he figures it next year. He has to be a big part of the Yankees future.

  32. Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan says:

    I might be the only person who thinks this, and I’ll probably get a lot of shit for saying this but…I really enjoy when Ibanez hits home runs.

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      He is a professional hitter who hits mistakes and hits well in hitter’s counts. Much better than I thought he would be and alot of clutch hits.

      • gc says:

        I know his year hasn’t always been pretty, and it’s difficult for me to imagine he has much left in the tank right now, but if anyone had told me before the season began that he would have 17 homers and 56 rbis, I would have thought they were out of the minds.

  33. Bavarian Yankee says:

    great win. Mesa’s mistake … man oh man, that’s as dumb as it gets. Learn how to use your feet and then walk to Boston, please!!

  34. ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

    Now that he has seen MLB action, the MelkyMesaWaysa returns to my username.

  35. ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

    Now that he has seen MLB action, the MelkyMesaWaysa returns to my username.

  36. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    I believe that I know what’s wrong with Cano. He has fallen into the trap of all left handed hitters in trying to pull everything into the stands in right. Until he remembers what made him a great hitter and goes with the pitch, he may continue to fail. He did get one or two hits to the left side I believe. In a winning situation where a hit does the job, you don’t try to hit it over the fence.

  37. Kosmo says:

    pitchers do change speeds on Cano down and away but he still gets his fair share of hits unfortunately they are often not in RISP situations.

  38. Kosmo says:

    Ichiro since joining NY:
    vs LHP 21-64 .393 ave
    @ YS3:
    .388 ave 38-98
    .417 OBP
    .622 SLG
    1.040 OPS

    he is zeroing in on the short RF porch. I know that his production has improved dramatically these last handful of games but nevertheless still impressive.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.