In a game in which CC Sabathia delivered his worst outing in pinstripes (a very un-Sabathia-like 4 innings of five-run ball) and the Yankees’ chances of winning fell as low as 2.9% as of the bottom of the sixth, the team surprised the ever-loving hell out of the entire baseball-watching world to rally back from a 5-0 hole after six innings and beat the Rangers 6-5 in Game 1 of the 2010 American League Championship Series.
Though the Yankees’ winning percentage was actually as low as 0.4% in the top of the ninth when they rallied off Jonathan Broxton and the Dodgers back on June 27, this was clearly the biggest comeback win of the season, given how high the stakes were.
Whereas C.J. Wilson came out throwing bullets and looking nearly unhittable, Sabathia was the complete opposite, giving up a three-run bomb to Josh Hamilton in the first inning before recording a single out. It looked as though CC might settle down, but three innings later he gave up a big two-run double to Michael Young that looked like it might be the death knell. To say Sabathia labored through his four innings would be putting it kindly, and Joe Girardi correctly lifted the big man for Joba Chamberlain to start the fifth.
This was only the fourth time in CC Sabathia‘s Yankee career he didn’t complete at least five innings, and one of those instances was an injury-shortened start against the Marlins last year (1 1/3 innings), one the last game of the season against the Rays (2 2/3 innings) in which they were getting him prepped for the playoffs, and the third against Boston this season in May (4 2/3) and that was only due to rain. So essentially this was Sabathia’s worst start since his very first as a Yankee, back on April 6, 2009, against Baltimore, when he went 4 1/3 innings and gave up six runs.
After an uneventful fifth, Girardi went to Dustin Moseley, who ended up being the unsung hero of the game in throwing two shutout innings and striking out four of the six batters he faced — including Young, Hamilton and Nelson Cruz — and the only blemish on his record was Jorge Cantu reaching an error, which incidentally pushed the Rangers’ WPA to its highest point.
The Yankees finally got on the board in the seventh on a Robinson Cano solo jack, though Wilson would settle down and get through the rest of the inning unscathed. Then the eighth came, and everything came undone for Wilson and the Rangers.
Brett Gardner led off with an infield single in which he pulled a Melky Cabrera-esque headfirst slide into the bag, only Gardy can actually run and so he beat a hustling Wilson to the bag. Derek Jeter followed with what would be the first of two doubles on the game for him (when was the last time Derek had two extra base hits in one game?), scoring Gardner from first. Darren Oliver then came in to relieve Wilson — who really pitched a phenomenal game, going 7+ and giving up three earned runs — and promptly walked Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira to load the bases. Mr. Bullpen himself, Ron Washington, then went to Darren O’Day to face Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod promptly ripped a two-run single past Mike Young at third (replays show the ball just skipped over his glove) to bring the Yankees to within one, and still there were no outs in the inning.
Washington then went to Clay Rapada for Cano, and Cano immediately greeted him with an absolutely huge RBI single up the middle to tie the game. If that weren’t enough, Marcus Thames gave the Yankees the lead with an RBI single off Derek Holland, and in the span of six batters the Yankees had score five runs — all with no outs — to climb all t
he way back from a 5-1 deficit and take the lead, 6-5.
It was pretty unbelievable, and if you still thought the Yankees had a chance of winning this game down by five going into the seventh with Wilson as on as he was, then you are a better fan than I.
Kerry Wood came on in the bottom half of the eighth and promptly walked Ian Kinsler, but quickly received a gift from the baseball gods as he caught Kinsler napping at first and picked him off. Wood got out of the rest of the inning without incident, and after a scoreless ninth by the Yankees, Mariano Rivera came on in the bottom of the ninth and did his Mariano Rivera thing, pitching around a Mitch Moreland single to pick up the save, and send the Yankees to a huge 1-0 advantage in the best-of-seven ALCS.
Here are some interesting random notes on the game from Baseball-Reference.
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees