In a game that dragged on for almost five hours in front of a sold-out Stadium crowd that seemed more quiet than being at a wake, the Yankees pulled a 3-2 victory out of a hat, winning on a walk-off, RBI single by Brett Gardner, in the bottom of the 13th inning against the K.C. Royals.
Again, the Bronx Bombers did not live up to their name, as they hit (2-for-15) with runners in scoring position, including leaving the bases loaded two times; hitting into four double plays; and, stranding 13 runners.
But, another solid effort by Yankees starting pitcher, Sidney Ponson, followed by 6 2/3 shutout innings by six relievers out of the bullpen, created the magic for the Bombers in this game, as the Yankees pitching held the score at, 2-2, until Gardner’s heroic game winning hit, off Royals reliever, Jeff Fulchino (0-1), in the 13th.
Ponson allowed only two runs [a solo homerun by Alex Gordon in the 2nd inning; and a sac-fly RBI by Esteban German in the 6th] over his 6 1/3 innings of work. Then, the Yankees bullpen shut down the Royals the rest of the way, including two scoreless innings by Mariano Rivera in the 10th and 11th innings; and, a solid performance by David Robertson, (3-0), who closed out the game by pitching scoreless innings in the 12th and 13th, to earn his third win of the year.
The Yankees tied the score, 2-2, in the bottom of the 7th, when Alex Rodriguez started the inning off by advancing to second base on two errors by Royals third baseman, Alex Gordon. Then, after a walk to Jason Giambi, and Xavier Nady grounding into a double play, Robinson Cano smashed a triple that plated A-Rod; and, then Cano scored the tying run on a wild pitch by Royals starter, Zack Greinke.
This was a tough break for Greinke because up to this point he was pitching a good game; and, without the two errors by Gordon maybe the Yankees would not have scored their two [unearned] runs, and Greinke’s shutout would have continued.
But, Zack Greinke’s bad fortune, was good luck for the Yankees, as they held on for the “Very Big Victory”.
Brett Gardner was (3-for-5) with a walk, and the game winning RBI.
Robinson Cano, also delivered “big” in this game, going (2-for-6), with a RBI, and two runs scored.
The Yanks are now (65-58), and with only 39 games remaining they have to play each game as if it was the last game of the World Series. Winning one game at a time, and putting together a long “winning streak” is the formula for the New York Yankees to make the playoffs this season.
For inspiration, the Yankees can look to the 2007 Colorado Rockies, who won 20 of their final 21 games to get into last year’s NL Playoffs. It has been done before, and for the Yankees to make it into the 2008 AL Playoffs, the Bombers are going to have to go at least, 28-11, over their final 39 games. The only way it can be done, is to win one game at a time.