It’s rare for Mariano Rivera to pitch badly in two consecutive appearances. It’s rarer still for him to give up a home run. But that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night as Mariano Rivera came on to pitch the ninth in a 4-4 game only to let the lead slip away on a Bobby Abreu two run homer, his second of the night and just the second one Mo has allowed all year.
This one was a frustrating mix of highs and lows from start to finish. Through five innings A.J. Burnett looked unhittable. He was blowing his fastball by hitters — something he rarely does — and had command of his curve ball. He had struck out six and walked none entering the sixth inning. Dan Haren was his usual self (more on that in a moment), so the Yankees hadn’t given A.J. much to work with. Curtis Granderson hit a homer in the first inning, and that was it. But, the way Burnett was pitching that lone run looked like it may have been enough.
The wheels came off in the sixth. Burnett lost a long at-bat to Bobby Abreu (him again), who snuck one just over the short porch in right to tie the game. After that, A.J. lost the zone. He got two more outs, but also walked three (one intentionally) to bring Jeff Mathis to the plate. Jeff Mathis is a bad baseball player. In fact, he entered the game with a 27 wRC+. I’d say he’s barely a major leaguer, but that’s an insult to AAA players everywhere. If ever there was a player for any pithcer, nevermind A.J., to get out, Mathis is the guy. Of course he hit a two-run ground rule double to deep center on a hanging curve. Adding insult to injury, Burnett let another run score making it 4-1 on a wild pitch before he got out of the inning.
A funny thing happened on the way to a text book A.J. implosion leading to a Yankee loss. Dan Haren also imploded (or got over worked, depending on your perspective). Haren had been excellent until the seventh inning. In fact, through 6.2 innings he had allowed just three hits. Then, he came undone, with his pitch count well above 100. Russell Martin roped a double. Eduardo Nunez knocked him in with a single, making it 4-2. Brett Gardner reached and movEd Nunez to third with a single before stealing second. That was it for Haren after 120 pitches, but Derek Jeter knocked the two runs anyway off Fernando Rodney, tying the game at 4-4. Curtis Granderson struck out to the end the inning, but the Yankees had rallied from the bottom of the lineup.
This one looked like it was headed for extra innings entering the ninth. Cory Wade and David Robertson took care of business in the seventh and eighth innings to hand things over to Mo. We don’t need to relive what happened to him here. The Yankees threatened in the ninth, managing to get two runners on, but the team was determined to drive its entire fan base insane Tuesday. Down to their final out, with Mark Teixeira at the plate, Curtis Granderson was hung up stealing second to end a maddening game. After winning eight in a row the Yankees have now lost three straight.
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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