In a game that started out all too familiarly with the Angels riding cheap hit after cheap hit to a 2-0 first inning, 3-1 third inning and 5-2 4th inning — although in fairness four of their five runs came via the home run, but in true Angels fashion even the home runs were annoying — the Yankee bats finally came to life, battling back and capitalizing on a huge error by Peter Bourjos in the 7th to win 6-5, snap their four-game skid and salvage the final game of the series. After mustering one lousy run over the first 18 innings of this series, it was delightful to see the team sextuple its series output in this game.
The comeback started in the fifth, after Curtis Granderson blasted a two-run shot with no outs into the right field seats, a more-than-welcome sign for the recently slumping Grandyman whose last home run had come on August 28 at Baltimore. Granderson is now one home run shy of the 40-bomb plateau many dreamed he might be capable of reaching in the immediate aftermath of his acquisition.
Then two innings later the Yankees were “set up” (™ Michael Kay) with runners on first and third and no one out. With Ervin Santana — who went six innings and gave up five — tiring, Mike Scioscia went to Lefty Scott Downs. Downs — who was pretty tough on the Yankees the last few years as a member of the Blue Jays — struck Granderson out swinging after throwing him five straight curveballs. Mark Teixeira came to the plate, and managed to loft a fly ball to deep center field, and though that would mean Brett Gardner would easily tag up and tie the game, something even more wonderful happened: the ball clanked off of Bourjos’ glove, enabling Gardner and a heads-up Derek Jeter to score all the way from first base to take the lead. Given how frequently the Angels are praised for “playing the game the right way” and for theoretically playing extremely sound, fundamental baseball, there may be no greater pleasure in life than one one of their fielders completely blows a routine play — especially when it ends up being the difference in the game.
Rafael Soriano threatened to make things interesting in the 7th by putting two mean aboard but he managed to strand them, David Robertson pitched his usual perfect 8th and Mariano Rivera came on to close things out for his 599th career save. Cory Wade — who, by the way, has quietly been one of the most dependable pitchers out of the Yankee bullpen, representing yet another insanely good pickup by Brian Cashman this season — also deserves big-time praise for keeping the game right where it was a perfect sixth inning. He ultimately picked up the win for his efforts.
Freddy Garcia was not-so-good in this one, only lasting five innings and giving up all five Angel runs, striking out three and walking three. Still, much credit to Freddy for managing to work his way out of a bases-loaded one-out jam in the fifth — a hit would’ve broken the game back open for the Halos and after chipping away to get within one run, another three-run deficit likely would’ve been asking too much of the flailing-of-late Yankee offense.
- Speaking of Tex, while he did end up lifting that sac fly-turned-error, thus far this has been his second-straight lackluster September. It’s only an eight-game sample, but thus far he’s at a .311 wOBA (92 wRC+). Last September he put up a .312 (89 wRC+) for the entire month, although as you’ll recall he was playing through several injuries. Still, the team really needs his bat to come up big, especially as they gear up for a postseason run. As many have pointed out, Tex’s overall line — 2.48/.343/.496 — has been dragged down in part due to his career-low BABIP, but regardless of whether you want to ascribe this to bad luck — and yes, he’s had some hard-hit outs of late — or a problematic approach — his pull-happy ways hitting lefty seem to be at least partially responsible — something needs to change. Two years ago Tex put up a .383 OBP for the Yanks in 2009. Safe to say a .040-point decline is not what the doctor ordered, and his current .343 OBP is also .030 points lower than his career average.
- Jesus Montero started this game at catcher, marking his Major League debut at the position, and while he wasn’t an absolute disaster he didn’t exactly garner rave reviews. Still, he did throw out one of three baserunners. Austin Romine actually made his Major League debut in this game, taking over for Monteo at catcher in the 7th inning. Romine did not get a plate appearance.
- Though it may not have felt like it after watching the first two games of this set, the Yankees actually ended up winning the season series against the Angels 5-4, the first time this has happened since 2003. They tied Scioscia’s annoying-as-hell team in both of the last two seasons.
- Boston lost its fifth straight game, knocking them to 3.5 games back in the AL East and only 3.5 games up on Tampa for the Wild Card. However, don’t get too excited — BP’s playoff odds report still has Boston with a 96.9% chance of making the postseason. While 3.5 games isn’t insurmountable, it’s a pretty substantial lead with only 16 games left to play for Boston and 17 for Tampa. The Sox would basically have to conduct a Mets-ian collapse for Tampa to sneak in, and Boston is way too good for that to happen.
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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