June Record: 15-11
Hitting Stars (OPS): B. Gardner (.918), M. Teixeira (.886), Johnny Damon (.885), N. Swisher (.885)
Pitching Stars (ERA)(>6 IP): P. Coke (0.71), A. Aceves (1.32), P. Hughes (1.38), A. Burnett (2.10), D-Rob (2.70)
June began with the Yankees wrapping up a 3-1 series victory over the Indians with a 5-2 win. Joba Chamberlain went 8 innings and allowed 2 runs, and the Yankees scored 4 in the 7th behind 2-run hits from Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez. The play of the game came from Joba, who went airborne to catch a bunt and turn a big DP. In this game, the Yankees set the MLB record for consecutive games without an error, with 18.
The Yankees then took 2 of 3 from Texas. In the first game, a Jorge Posada error ended the errorless streak, but 12 runs by the Yankees helped make up for that. Mark Teixeira was hit twice by Vicente Padilla, and words were exchanged. On the next play, Tex broke up a double play with a hard slide, and extended what became a 7 run inning. The Yankees lost the middle game 4-2 as Andy Pettitte walked 6 in 5 innings and was outpitched by Scott Feldman. In the finale, the Yankees won 8-6 despite CM Wang’s struggles in his return to the rotation. Mark Teixeira had an important bases clearing double, and Melky Cabrera broke a 6-6 tie with a two run shot in the 8th.
After a rainout, the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Rays. The Yankees lost 9-7 in the opener in a memorable game. CC Sabathia allowed a 3-run shot to Willy Aybar to give the Rays a 5-3 lead in the 6th. The Yankees scored two in the 8th to tie it, and Mariano Rivera entered and promptly allowed 4 runs (3 ER), the last two of which were allowed by Phil Coke in relief of the ineffective Mo. The Yankees scored two in the 9th, but were unable to complete the comeback. They bounced back the next day, taking a 4-3 victory behind a 3 run 8th. The comeback was helped by an error on a DP ball by Willy Aybar that likely would have ended the inning with the score 3-2. They took the final game behind Andy Pettitte and a tie-breaking homer from Johnny Damon in the 6th. This game also marked Phil Hughes’ first one inning relief appearance of the year.
The Yankees followed up these victories with another awful series in Boston. They lost the first game 7-0, as Burnett failed to make it out of the 3rd and Josh Beckett shut the Yankees down. The Yankees lost the following game 6-5 in a game where they fell behind early due to CM Wang and got some solid relief work from Phil Hughes, as well as some fun Nick Swisher plays in the outfield (one awful, one great, one ridiculous). They entered the 7th down 6-3, but got back to back homers from Damon and Tex off Ramon Ramirez. They put a runner on 2nd with one out in the 8th and 9th, but Jeter, Damon, Cano, and Posada all failed to come through. This set up the finale as the most heartbreaking game of the season, and the moment where many of the bandwagon fans jumped off until August. CC Sabathia and Brad Penny (who hit A-Rod with a pitch in the 1st) dueled through 6 innings, after which Boston led 1-0. However, Manny Delcarmen entered in the 7th and allowed 3 runs, with the big blows being a RBI double from Frankie Cervelli and a two out, two run double from A-Rod. CC pitched into the 8th, where everything unraveled. Nick freakin Green singled, Pedroia walked in a 10 pitch AB, and Drew singled to send CC to the showers. Aceves entered, Youkilis singled to load the bases, Bay singled to tie the game, and Mike Lowell put the Sox ahead with a sac fly. Phil Coke ended the threat, but the damage was done. The Yankees fell to 0-8 against Boston, and there was panic in the streets of NY. Thankfully, the Mets were on their way in.
The first game of the 2009 Subway Series was an epic. Joba Chamberlain struggled through 4 innings, Brett Tomko gave up 4 runs prior to getting 3 outs, and the Yankees trailed 6-4 going into the bottom of the 6th. A single and a walk chased Livan Hernandez, and Hideki Matsui sent a 2-0 pitch from Jon Switzer over the wall in right for a 7-6 lead. Dave Robertson and Phil Coke combined to allow a run in the 7th, and then Coke got the first two outs in the 8th. Joe Girardi went to Mo Rivera in the tie game, at which point Beltran walked and David Wright doubled him in for an 8-7 lead. In the 9th, Derek Jeter singled off K-Rod and stole second. With two outs, the Mets walked Teixeira to face A-Rod, and the move paid off, as A-Rod lofted a pop-up to the second baseman Castillo……WHO DROPPED THE BALL!!! Teixeira, running hard all the way, scored easily, and the Yankees had an amazing win. The Yankees lost the next day to Fernando Nieve, and things were looking grim with Johan Santana looming. However, the Yankees dominated Johan, scoring 9 runs off him in 3+ innings, while AJ Burnett shut the Mets down over 7 for a 15-0 win. The key hit was a 2-out RBI single by Frankie Cervelli in the 2nd for the game’s first run, setting up a 4 run inning that included a 2 out, 2run hit from Johnny Damon. The Yankees then scored 9 in the 4th, with Hideki Matsui’s homer blowing the game open. Prior to this game, K-Rod and Brian Bruney had their little confrontation. Also memorable was AJ Burnett escaping a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the 3rd while the game was still in doubt, and a Nick Swisher catch that injured the scoreboard.
The Yankees followed that feel good series up with what many consider to be their worst stretch of the season, as they lost 5 of the next 7 to the Nats, Marlins, and Braves. They took the first game against the Nats in comeback fashion, as the Yankees got shut down by Shairon Martis but notched two runs in the 7th to pull out the victory. The big hit was a Robinson Cano double, which erased Anderson Hernandez’ 3 run homer off CC Sabathia. The next night, the Yankees were shut down by John Lannan, but had a chance to tie the game with runners on the corners and one out in the 9th. However, Cano could not come through again, and hit into a DP to end the game. Craig Stammen shut the Yankees out the next night in the first homerless game at NYS, and the Yankees had dropped a series to the worst team in baseball.
The next series was equally frustrating. The Yankees once again took the first game, notching a 5-1 victory behind Andy Pettitte and his RBI double. The Yankees lost the next game 2-1 in frustrating fashion, with a Johnny Damon error leading to the winning run. The Yankees put two on with nobody out in the 8th, but a Derek Jeter DP killed the rally. The Yanks dropped the finale 6-5 in a game that saw CC Sabathia leave in the 2nd due to tightness in his arm. Brett Tomko allowed 3 runs over two innings, while Phil Coke and David Robertson allowed one each to put the Yankees in a 6-3 hole entering the 9th. Brett Gardner laced a 2-run triple to bring the Yankees closer, but Derek Jeter left runners at the corners when he grounded out to the end the game. The Yankees protested this game due to a Marlins lineup snafu that you can read about by clicking the link.
The final loss of this awful stretch was in the first game of a series in Atlanta, and dropped the Yankees 5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. They lost 4-0 to Tommy Hanson, and Brian Cashman flew to Atlanta to give the struggling club a pep talk. For the first 5 innings of the next game, it looked like nothing had changed, as the Yanks trailed 1-0. However, everything changed in the 6th. Brett Gardner was picked off first on what seemed to be a bad call, and Joe Girardi got ejected. Seemingly fired up, Frankie Cervelli drilled his first career homer during the next at-bat, and A-Rod (who was in a huge slump and had just gone through that whole “needs more rest” snafu) added a two run single in the inning. Up 4-1 going into the 7th, Joba Chamberlain gave back two runs, but a great catch by Nick Swisher kept the Yankees in the lead, and they eventually won 8-4. This started a 7 game winning streak, and many view that 6th inning as the turning point of the season. The Yankees scored 8 runs in the first four innings off Derek Lowe the next night, and held on for an 11-7 victory. The tide had turned.
The Yankees then came home and beat the tar out of the depleted Mets. They took the first game 9-1 behind CC Sabathia and a 5 hit night for Brett Gardner, including a homer in cavernous CitiField. The won the next game 5-0 behind a 7 inning, 10K performance from Burnett, who held the Mets hitless into the 6th inning. Jorge Posada busted the game open with a 3-run homer. The Yankees won the finale 4-2 behind CM Wang’s best start of the year, but the story of this game was Mariano Rivera. Mo notched his 500th save and 1st RBI in this game, with the walk coming on a bases loaded walk off K-Rod.
The final game of June was an 8-5 thriller over Seattle, a game that saw Mariano Rivera start and finish the contest. The game was tied at 3 entering the 7th, where the Yankees scored two runs on an A-Rod homer to take a 5-3 lead. However, Brian Bruney gave the runs right back, allowing 3 hits and a sac fly to score two runs. In the bottom of the 8th, Melky Cabrera’s RBI double and Jeter’s 2-run single gave the Yankees the victory, and brought them within 2.5 games in the division.
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