In one of the most exciting comebacks by the Yankees this season, the Bronx Bombers won the final game of this very important four-game series against the Angels, 14-9, to earn a very well deserved split of the series.
After the Yanks lost the first two games, it looked like the Angels could very well sweep this four-game series, which would have been “devastating” for the Yankees.
But, Mike Mussina “dazzled” the sold-out “Old Timer’s Day” crowd with his brilliant pitching performance in Saturday’s 8-2 victory; and, on Sunday, in this game, it was the Yankee hitters, most notably, Xavier Nady, who put on a show, this time a hitting clinic.
This game could almost be equated to a “Tennis Match”, as the scoring by both teams was clearly divided over three “sets”. The winner of two of the three sets would get the victory.
The Angels clearly took the first set [the first four innings], 5-0.
The Yankees dominated set number two [innings 5, 6 and 7], 8-0.
And, in a “battle-royal”, in the final set [the 8th and 9th innings], the Yankees prevailed, 6-4, to raise the flag of their, 14-9, victory.
Darrell Rasner got belted around in the first four innings, allowing 5 runs, on 7 hits, and 3 walks, which gave the Angels an early 5-0 lead, as the game entered the bottom of the 5th.
The Stadium crowd was so quiet at this point, on a hot summer day in the Bronx, as the Yanks looked very “flat”, and uninspired on the field; and, Angels starter, John Lackey, was coasting along without any sign of trouble from the Yankee bats.
The Yankees almost did score a run in the bottom of he 4th, when they loaded the bases with one out. Jeter walked leading off the inning; Abreu singled; A-Rod struck-out; and, Jason Giambi also reached first by a walk. Xavier Nady was the next batter up, and hit a long ball to left that should have been a sac fly, cutting the Angels lead to 5-1. But, that was not the case, as the inning ended on “one the rarest plays in baseball”.
Angels left fielder, Garret Anderson, made the catch for out number two. After the catch Derek Jeter raced home easiely, and would have scored. But, Bobby Abreu, on second base, thought the ball was long enough to also advance to third, and tagged up, then headed for third after the catch. The throw from left was to third, and Abreu was out, the third out of the inning.
Jeter crossed the plate, and the Yankees thought, at least, one run scored that inning. But, No! The home plate umpire waved to the press box, that the run did not count because Abreu was out before Jeter touched the plate. A replay on the YES Network clearly showed that the ump made the right call. The play was so embarrassing, that Joe Girardi didn’t even bother to come out of the dugout to argue the call.
Baseball 101 – “Never make the first or last out of an inning at third base”.
In the second set, [innings 5-6-7], the Yankees started to make their amazing comeback, by scoring a run in the 5th; three runs in the 6th; and, four runs in the 7th, to take a 8-5 lead into the top of the 8th inning.
Ivan Rodriguez (2-for-3) put the Yanks first run of the day on the board, by hitting his first homer as a Yankee, to cut the Angels lead to 5-1.
Then, the Bombers scored three more runs in the 6th, on a two-RBI double by Nady; and, a force play RBI grounder by Wilson Betemit. Angels 5, Yankees 4.
In the 7th inning the Yankees got a break, when with one out, Derek Jeter hit an easy fly ball to centerfield, that was “dropped” by Gary Matthews, Jr, for a two-base error. This opened the flood-gates for the Bombers, as the error was followed by a RBI single by Bobby Abreu (3-for-4), that tied the score, 5-5. Alex Rodriguez then singled to set-up the most dramatic moment of the game for the Yankees.
The “X”-Man, Xavier Nady, was the next batter up, and he formally had his “christening” as an official member of the New York Yankees, when he blasted a long three-run homerun into the left field seats, to move the Yankees into the lead, 8-5.
“X”, as his friends call him, was called out of the dugout for a “curtain call” by the Stadium crowd, and Nady, who was (4-for-5), with six RBI’s, was happy to step back onto the field, and wave his cap to the cheering fans.
So, the game was tied — two sets each, with the Yankees holding the 8-5 lead.
This very exciting game entered the final set [8th and 9th innings], and the Angels would not fly away without a fight.
Dan Giese, who replaced Rasner, kept the Yankees in this game, pitching three scoreless innings, giving up only one hit, two walks, and striking-out three. Edwar Ramirez was in to pitch the 8th.
The Angels loaded the bases off Ramirez, after he struck-out the first two batters in the top of the 8th, which brought up Mark Teixeira.
If “X” marked the spot for the Yankees on the Xavier Nady three-run homer; then, “TEX” would mark the spot for the L.A. Angels, as Teixeira rocketed a “grand-slam” homerun into the short-rightfield porch, that hushed the crowd, and put the Angels back into the lead, 9-8.
The Angels now led the final set, but the Bombers were ready to “ace” the win in this game.
Ivan Rodriguez led off the bottom of the 8th with a single, and was replaced by pinch-runner, Justin Christian. The hit-and-run was on with Melky Cabrera up, and the speed by Christian caused the shortstop, Erick Aybar to boot the possible double play ball for an error that allowed both runners to be safe.
With Damon up at the plate, Christian stole third, and scored the tying run when the throw by catcher, Jeff Mathis went into leftfield. Melky stole second base; and Damon walked, as Jeter came up with no outs.
Jeter grounded out, and Abreu walked to load the bases, with one out, and Alex Rodriguez coming up to the plate. A-Rod hit what looked like was a double play grounder to third, but Figgins made an error that allowed the go-ahead run to score. Yankees 10, Angels 9.
The Yankees completed the scoring with a pinch-hit, two-RBI double by Robinson Cano; a RBI single by Nady, his 4th hit of the day; and, a single by Justin Christian that drove home the final run of the game.
Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 9th, to close out the victory.
Point — Set — Match … The Yankees Win, 14-9.
This was a very big win for the Yankees, and one of their best comebacks of the year. They now head out on the road for a very tough 10-game road trip starting in Texas. Joba Chamberlain pitches tonight [Monday, August 4th]. Go Yankees !!!
On a personal note, this entry is Post: “Number 100” on my mlblog “Baseball, The Yankees, and Life” !!!
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