Yankees rally late for win over Orioles but lose Gardner to injury

Update: Gardner leaves game with strained left oblique
Mailbag: Ryan, Nunez, Park Factors, Super Twos

After getting torn apart by the Red Sox last weekend and losing the first game of this series to the Orioles, the Yankees needed to win these last three games to more or less save their season. They did just that. New York won their third straight over Baltimore thanks to some ninth inning heroics/defensive hilarity. Thursday’s final score was 6-5.


The No-Hit Shortstop Who Saved The Season
(Alternate Heading: Where Are Your One-Run Game Gods Now?)
When Derek Jeter had to be shut down with continued left ankle soreness, the Yankees went out and acquired Brendan Ryan to help out at shortstop for the duration of the regular season. Ryan is as good a defender as you’ll find, but the man can’t hit. He can’t hit at all, but on the rarest of occasions he will actually get on base. Ryan made his bi-weekly contribution to the offense in the ninth inning by lacing a leadoff single to right field in a 5-5 game. Whenever this guy does something at the plate, the Yankees have to take advantage. Take advantage they did.

Chris Stewart attempted to sacrifice Ryan into scoring position did, but it was a bad bunt and Jim Johnson had plenty of time to throw to second to get the lead runner. Too bad he threw the ball into center field. The Yankees actually caught a break when Ryan stumbled rounding second because he would have been out at third by a mile had he tried to advance on the play. Curtis Granderson bunted the two runners up for the middle of the order, but neither Alex Rodriguez nor Alfonso Soriano had to actually swing the bat to get the go-ahead run in. Johnson uncorked a (very) wild pitch that went to the backstop and allowed Ryan to score easily from third. A-Rod was intentionally walked and Soriano grounded into an inning-ending double play, so the insurance run(s) was never brought home, but they did get the first run in and that was most important. Brendan Ryan, offensive spark plug. How about that?


Bullpen On Parade
Any time the starter is lifted after three effective innings (more on that in a second), it’s going to take more than a few relievers to piece together the final 18 outs. David Huff took over for Phil Hughes and allowed just one run in three innings of work. The run was a solo homer by Nick Markakis, which ended Huff’s evening. Adam Warren replaced him and allowed two of the four men he faced to reach base before Cesar Cabral retired pinch-hitter Mike Morse for the final out of the seventh. That’s 12 of the 18 outs right there. Outs 13-15 didn’t go so well.

Fresh off an 18-pitch outing on Wednesday after missing about a week with shoulder tendinitis, David Robertson got the ball in the eighth and completely imploded. Manny Machado led off the inning with a solo homer … except Soriano made a fantastic jumping catch to bring the ball back. Defensive play of the Yankees season kinda stuff. I had no idea he still had ups like that. After Robertson struck out Chris Davis for the second out of the inning, four straight Orioles reached base. Adam Jones singled, Markakis singled, then Danny Valencia jumped all over a first pitch fastball for a game-tying three-run homer. Robertson went from having a three-run lead with the bases empty and two outs to giving up the game-tying dinger in the span of ten pitches. That happened fast.

After the Yankees retook the lead in the ninth, Joe Girardi gave the ball to Mariano Rivera for the third straight day and fourth time in five days. Mo had to be running on fumes — he threw two innings on Sunday, 1.1 innings on Tuesday, and one inning on Wednesday. Can’t imagine there was much fuel left in that 43-year-old tank. The ninth was no problem though; Rivera retired the side on ten pitches without a ball leaving the infield. He actually looked better than he did on Wednesday, or at least his command seemed to be a little more fine. There were nothing out over the plate, everything was on the corners. It was a welcome sight. As important as these games are, it’s hard to think Mo will be available on Friday.

(Rob Carr/Getty)
(Rob Carr/Getty)

Quick Hook
When it was announced Hughes would start this game over Huff, I figured Girardi would have a quick hook. And he should have had one. Hughes has been pretty awful all season and these games are all incredibly important. I just didn’t think the quick hook would come as soon as it did, after Eduardo Scissorhands muffed a routine ground ball to lead off the fourth inning. It was mighty quick. Remember, Girardi let Hughes face Davis (!) with a man on base and two outs the prior inning. He was good enough to pitch then but not good enough after getting a routine grounder to start the next inning? Weird.

Anyway, Hughes allowed just one Stewart-assisted run in three full innings of work, so it was basically the same outing Huff gave them in relief. The run was Stewart-assisted because, as usual, he was unable to keep a ball in the dirt in front of him. Yes, technically it’s a wild pitch, but at some point it would be nice if he got all defensive catchery and actually kept one of those in front of him and prevented the runner from moving up 90 feet. It seems like every ball in the dirt scoots away from Stewart and allows the runner to advance. It’s annoying. Phil struck out three, walked none, and allowed three singles while throwing 50 pitches in those three innings. Short but sweet, as the kids call it.

(Rob Carr/Getty)
(Rob Carr/Getty)

The Yankees jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to a pair of two-run hits. Mark Reynolds swatted a two-run dinger in the second inning, then Vernon Wells drove in two with a bases loaded single in the third. Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen settled in after that and retired 13 straight before Curtis Granderson hit a solo homer with one out in the seventh to end Chen’s evening. The Bombers hit ten homers in this four-game series after hitting ten homers in July. Like, the whole month.

Girardi rearranged his defense in the late innings, replacing Wells with Ichiro Suzuki in right and sliding Reynolds from first to third to replace Nunez. Lyle Overbay came in at first. Yes, Reynolds took over for Nunez defensively. The worst part: it was the right move. Both guys are terrible with the glove but Nunez is actually worse. Hard to believe. Because that’s not funny enough, Eduardo was allowed to hit for himself in the previous inning, showing how little faith Girardi has in Ichiro at the plate.

Because Stewart is not infuriating enough, he struck out on two strikes in the second inning. He took the first pitch of the at-bat for a ball, fouled off the second pitch, then swung and missed at third for what he thought was strike three and walked back to the dugout. You’d think a catcher would be especially cognizant of the count, right? Even while batting just out of habit, no? Embarrassing.

Last, but unfortunately not least, the Yankees lost Brett Gardner to a left oblique strain in the very first inning. He apparently hurt himself on a check swing and will head for an MRI tomorrow. Considering how tricky obliques are, this could very easily be a season-ending injury. That would be a major, major blow.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays managed to beat the Red Sox, so the Yankees remain one back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. They’re four back of the Rangers for the first wildcard spot, in case you’re wondering. The Indians clobbered the White Sox and are tied with New York in the loss column. The Orioles are tied with the Royals and one back of the Yankees and Indians. Five teams within three games for that second wildcard spot. Craziness. Cool Standings gives New York a 22.9% chance to make the postseason at the moment.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game series if finally over. The Yankees are heading up to Boston for a three-game weekend series with the Red Sox, which will hopefully look nothing last last weekend’s series. Hiroki Kuroda and John Lackey kick things off on Friday night.

Update: Gardner leaves game with strained left oblique
Mailbag: Ryan, Nunez, Park Factors, Super Twos
  • SDB

    “Where Are Your One-Run Game Gods Now?”

    This should SO be the title of this piece.

  • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

    So, after that letdown game at Yankee Stadium 1.5 weeks ago, we lamented the fact that, to win the season series, the Yankees needed to win three of four in a ballpark where they are 1-5 at this season.

    This seemed even more grim after Monday.

    But the Yankees battled like hell and won the last three games, and now hold any tiebreaker over Baltimore; any tiebreaker game is at Yankee Stadium, not Camden Yards.

    Boy did they ever (finally) deliver a close-out game on Baltimore, even though David Robertson did everything in his power to dive-bomb it.

  • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

    Wow the Baltimore official scorekeeper is a wanker.

    • Havok9120

      Yeah. Boo.

      Johnson does not deserve to have a share of the lead in saves after tonight.

  • flp1@cox.net

    So theoretically guys if the Yankees (when) the Yankees clinch the 2nd Wildcard spot. Who would you want on the mound for that “one game playoff”?

    Traditionally it would be C.C, he has been our big game pitcher, but not this year. About a month ago I would have said Kuroda was the easy answer, but he seems to have hit a wall. So that leaves Andy Pettite (the man who makes October his bitch, with the all time leading 19 wins in the postseason) or our most consistent almost ace of late Ivan Supernova.

    So who would you go with. Nova or Pettite? Or is Kuroda still in the discussion, which I think he is, but he looks risky right now.

    Who we going with? I would go with Pettite. Live and Die with “Big Game Andy”

    I think I’

    • Havok9120

      We’ve got two weeks left to decide this. And, really, we’re probably gonna need both weeks.

      Maybe Hiroki skipping his bullpens revives him, maybe Ivan gets back to earlier form (doubt it), maybe Andy implodes in his last 2 starts, etc.

      Let’s wait and see.

      • flp1@cox.net

        I just thought it would be fun to discuss. But ok.

        • Havok9120

          Oh, no, discuss away. That was just my answer for the discussion. The rotation is in such shambles (and our need so desperate) at the moment that there is no right answer.

          If the playoffs started next week and our spot was locked? I go to Andy. As it is, I think we just need to wait and see.

    • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries


      Don’t do that. Nothing is guaranteed. Yankees need to survive this weekend and hope the Twinkies can take at least one game from the Rays. An Oakland sweep of Texas wouldn’t suck, either.

      • flp1@cox.net

        Obviously nothing is guaranteed. But, I like to think good things.

        • Havok9120

          I’m with you there.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I really hope he doesn’t get barrels of spam mail, though.

    • Get Phelps Up

      Right now how could it not be Andy?

    • JLC 776

      I honestly think it might come down to whomever is next in the rotation! It really might be that close!

  • dkidd


    with a bullet

    • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

      Orioles down to, like, 5.9%.

      Does that give you any idea of just how much of a swing game this was? Remarkable. And this team really stepped up big-time to win the game in the 9th after DRob’s 8th inning implosion. Really a remarkable job.

      • JLC 776

        That’s kind of an illusion, though. That game we lost in April was just as important – the ‘odds’ swing thing is just an artifact of there being so few games left.

        But, yeah. Really big win! They all are now!

  • YankeeFan

    What’s the new lineup looking like without Gardner?


    Before submitting this, I was actually going to advocate Granderson at leadoff but once you starting writing the lineup you realize you leave no protection for Soriano so I think you have to go Ichiro leadoff and pray he can find a little ’12 magic in him.

    • jim p

      I guess it’s still illegal to send up only 6 batters instead of 9. Sadly.

      • Jerry-NJ

        Overbay hasn’t had enough big hits for you?

  • Get Phelps Up

    So the season was over after Mondays game, the 7th inning on Tuesday, the 4th inning yesterday and the 8th inning today! You people never learn. Great game and we won the season series from the O’s again! We’ve still only lost it to them once in my lifetime :)

    Also Jim Johnson’s now just one away from leading the AL in losses as a reliever too. I wonder if there’s ever been anyone who’s led the league in blown saves, saves AND losses in one season.

  • Sam

    Can someone please explain to me, why on Cool Standings the Indians have a higher Wild Card probability (34.4%) than the Yankees (22.9%) despite the Yanks having a half game lead over the Tribe?

    • your mom

      Easier schedule?

      • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

        ESPN bias

        • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

          They use Cool Standings, so there’s no bias there from ESPN.

    • Brett

      Easier remaining schedule?

    • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

      Wow, that’s a really significant difference, too.

      • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

        Lots of White Sox, Twins, and, hell, Astros too? will do that. Lets just hope Chicago can at least win one game this weekend. Two would be gravy, because, well, they are just that bad.

        • Get Phelps Up

          Good thing they get Sale on Sunday then. It would have really sucked if the Indians missed him after the Os and Red Sox played 7 games against them and didn’t see Sale in even one of those.

      • dkidd

        i fear the indians of cleveland

    • Robinson Tilapia


    • JGYank

      Run differential.

  • your mom

    Need to win big tomorrow, the pen needs some rest.

  • Get Phelps Up

    I wonder who would have gotten the win if this official scorer was scoring the final game of the Red Sox series.

    • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

      Casey Kelley

    • dkidd

      calvin schiraldi

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Somehow, David Ortiz.

  • flp1@cox.net

    Bring up Venditte!

  • Tom

    That was Mo’s 80th save against the O’s (even if the official scorer spelled save incorrectly)

    Either that or apparently it would have been disrespectful to Flanny for him to get 80.

  • vicki

    how much you wanna bet stewie gets credit for Good Phil and romine loses half his starts?

    • Robinson Tilapia


      Stewie shall play.


  • jim p

    One day a manager will be hailed as a genius when he realizes a fifth-starter spot is always going to be a drain on the bullpen and instead have 2 or 3 pitchers who can do the job twice through the lineup. So he’ll have a set tandem of short men fill the fifth starter role.

    Say, Hughes, 3 or 4 innings; Huff 3 or 4; Warren. If Hughes can go five and Warren/Huff for 4 and see 36 at-bats from the other team without blowing it all up…

    And then you could use any of the three for one or two innings between the 5th-starter day.

    It’ll happen one day.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Brendan Ryan did it for Alberto Gonzalez, Reid Brignac, Chris Nelson, Brent Lillibridge, Luis Cruz, and the other 20 no-hit guys who filled in for about an inning and a half. That ninth inning lead-off hit was for you all. Thank you for your contribution when the only other option was a cardboard cut-out of Derek Jeter.

    A funnier official scorer would have given the win to Jim Johnson.

    It’s obvious DRob isn’t 100%. Concerned about Gardner. Who am I bullshitting, though? I’ve been concerned about someone all year. 9/13. That other shoe is still snugly on.

    Never say die. We will take to them in Fenway.

  • LarryM Fl

    How much of Steward and Ryan can I take. I really can see Ryan at short for this team in its present roster makeup. But Steward is just horrible. His defense is getting as poor as his offense.

    The Yanks should exhaust all avenues for a closer/set up man in the off season because Robertson IMHO is not the answer at closer. You may want to give him a pass because of his track record which is good. His ability to be efficient with a pitch count, game after game is not good.It will lead to poor performances on steady work days without a rest.

    A win is a win no matter what part of the season especially now.

    We owe the Red Sox some offensive retaliation for their production at YS3 this past week.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Robertson is recovering from an injury. On a team with either less to play for or anyone else in the bullpen who can get 3 outs, he’d still be on the bench.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        You and your context.

  • mt

    Great win – Mark Reynolds is doing a mini-Soriano impression.

    This pitching staff is really running on fumes – we’ ve got ineffective CC, Kuroda running out of gas who did 127 pitches over six innings in his last start with no extra rest before Friday’s Red Sox start, Nova with his triceps issue who may need to be pulled out of the game at sign of any flare-up, and Pettite who was extended to 109 pitches last time but has generally bombed out after 90 pitches. Then we have the 42 year old Mo who has been used 4 out of 5 days, overextended DRob and Kelley coming off injuries, and Logan who seems done for year when he had to stop hisattempt at catch yesterday. Then we have a whole slew of pitchers who either 1) can’t sniff a game because there is no trust (Betances, Daley, Zagurski, Joba (good move in Joba’s case there is no trust) or 2) in my opinion, should be used a little more (Claiborne, Cabral).

    The problem with tag team starters is that if Huff and Hughes tag team six innings (and they did well yesterady inh giving up only 2 runs) it is almost certain that overextended Drob/Mo will have to come in to pitch 8th and 9th (no faith in Warren and Claiborne and Kelley to finish game without Mo and DRob).

    I know it has been reported that we tried to get Haren and failed but given all the above “running on fumes” it would be nice to even get a below average starter (but better than Phil Hughes) for 3 starts (Pelfrey, Correia, Hector Santiago or somebody like that who can clear waivers and can easily go 110-120 for 3 starts with no questions). I have visions of Nova coming out of Sunday’s game after 2 innings.

  • OldYanksFan

    I will go against the grain and say this Sox series is the least important of the remaining season (considering, of course, that all Wins are important). It will be VERY hard to take this series against a hot team at Fenway.

    I am hoping we can take 1 of 3.
    Further, I would not kill the pitching staff on these next 3 games.
    I would actually try and rest the BP these next 3 games, and hope we can steal one.

    After this series, we have 12 games left.
    3 against TB at YS (THE most important series left) and 9 against Toronto, SF and the Astros.

    Boston: 1 and 2
    Tampa: 2 and 1
    Dregs: 8 and 1

    leaves us at 90 and 72.

    The BEST way to Win games is beat up against bad teams.
    Winning 8 of 9 is ALWAYS hard, but the competition are all well out of the fray. Maybe we can even sweep the Rays.

    However, if we don’t rest Mo and DRob over the next 3 games (in an attempt to maybe Win 1 extra game), we risk losing games of the last 12 that can more easily be won.

    Sunday, it’s Nova against Buchholz( 1.61 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 10-0).
    This is a waste of Nova.
    TANK THIS GAME. Throw Warren or an AAA SP, and pray.
    I would rest ARod, as we need him STRONG down the road.
    I would rest anyone else needed.

    Save Nova for for Monday against Toronto, a very Winable game.
    Push him up 1 start, and have him pitch the first game against TB.
    Right now, Hughes is slated to open the TB series!

    And while it’s been said before, that 1st game against TB will truly be the MOST MUST WIN game of the season.

    I repeat!
    Make the Buchholz a REST game.
    Push Nova up to open the series at TB.. instead of Hughes.
    Because that game will be the MOST MUST WIN game of the season.

    • nsalem

      We have a chance to win against Red Sox on Sunday, but there is no way in the world we get a win against the Blue Jays on Monday. You can’t predict baseball, but us getting a win against Toronto is no way possible. You can bet your house on it.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Handle bet?

        • Nsalem

          For a Yankee win vs Toronto on Monday. Most definitely. I wouldnt do that if I were you.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Well you’d only win the bet if they lost.

            But in reality I just had a brain fart and assumed the Yankees had no more off days.

            • sevrox

              The Yanks have Boston right where they want ’em – Sox are due for a cool off period and here it is as the Yanks wreak havoc and revenge upon Fenway.

              Optimistically Buoyant,

            • nsalem

              Hope it wasn’t a wet brain fart.

  • JLC 776

    At least the pitching staff – specifically the relief corps – is doing their ‘blow every game’ thing now. We’re still very much in this race and hopefully they’ve bounced back in time to give it a good run in October.

  • JLC 776

    My new favorite moment of the night comes at the :47 mark of the clip of Soriano robbing Machado of a clear Home Run – when some guy in the background screams, “Holy shit!!!”

    Go check it out. I’ll wait here for you to come back.


  • fred robbins

    Robertson is so over done– and Rivera is going to give all he has left these last 14 games or so if needed— but I sure can’t have any faith in David Robertson –he was mostly a one year wonder and has not added or refined any of his pitches. He will kill the yanks

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      OK for the love of God.


      Yeah. He has one rough stretch this year while recovering from an injury and he’s a one year wonder.


    • Robinson Tilapia

      You have an odd definition of “one year.”

      He’s obviously not 100% right now after missing some day but, sure, let’s kick one of our pitchers while he’s down. Some fan.

      Aren’t you one of our older fans? How many closers/fireman/whatevertheycalledthembeforerunningwater have you lived through? And you think THIS guy’s going to kill the team?

    • JLC 776

      I’d say the whole ‘pen is running on fumes right now due to the state of the season. That certainly doesn’t make DRob a one year wonder. Hell, I don’t even buy the line about him not being able to handle ‘closer pressure’ due to recent outings and a few outings last year.

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    These past few games are actually killing me, the last few innings are so unbelievably stressful. I hate games against the red sox, especially at fenway, so it is going to be tough this weekend.

    with that being said, awesome win last night, can’t believe that the pitching has sort of held up, pretty mush everyone looks gassed.

    I was surprised to see cgrand hit that homer off chen. His first at bat was pathetic, three pitches three strikes and 2 swings and misses. The first one was literally one of the saddest swings I have seen in a long time. how about arod with 3 walks?

  • Arnie Palmer’s old putter

    Nunez is now a young Betemit?