It was not a totally lost weekend for the New York Yankees as they won the final game of a four-game series against the White Sox, 8-5, thus avoiding what would have been a very embarrassing sweep by the Chisox in the Windy City.
The Yankees followed the “Melky-Way” in route to their must-win victory, as Melky Cabrera hit for the cycle — the first cycle by a Yankee since Tony Fernandez accomplished this rare feat in 1995. Also, his was the 15th cycle in Yankee history.
Melky put on a spectacular display, getting four hits in five at-bats, including a three-run homer off Chicago starter Mark Buehrle (L,11-5) in the second inning; a double and run scored in the fourth; a RBI single in the fifth; and, finally, a very exciting triple during his final at-bat in the ninth inning, a solid line drive in the gap over rightfielder Jermaine Dye’s head. The ball sailed to the wall as Melky Cabrera “cycled” around the bases at full speed.
After Cabrera slid safely into third base for the triple that completed his cycle, Melky quickly jumped up to his feet, pumping his arm into the air, as everybody in the Yankees dugout gave “The Melk-man” a standing ovation, cheering on this “very rare” historical baseball feat. A wonderful baseball moment, indeed.
Melky Cabrera scored the Yankees final run later on in the ninth inning, a very important insurance run, on a two-out RBI single by Derek Jeter that completed the scoring in this 8-5 Yankees victory.
This was Derek Jeter’s 2,084th game, which tied the great Babe Ruth for fourth place on the Yankees all-time games played list. It seems like “The Capatin” breaks or ties an all-time record at least once a week.
CC Sabathia was the Yankees starting pitcher, and certainly did not pitch one of his best games.
The Bombers staked Sabathia an early 3-0 lead on the Melky homer; but, CC could not hold the lead, giving up four runs in the bottom of the third on a RBI single by Gordon Beckham; a long opposite field two-run homer by Jermaine Dye; and, another long opposite field homerun by the next batter Jim Thome [career homer #559], that moved the White Sox into a 4-3 lead.
The Yankees battled back, though, led by Melky Cabrera, scoring two runs in the fourth on a RBI single by Jose Molina that scored Melky; and, a RBI single by Johnny Damon that plated Molina with the fifth run, giving the Yanks the lead once again at 5-4.
Melky was part of another Yankee rally in the top of the fifth, driving home Alex Rodriguez with a RBI single, which was followed by a run scoring single by newcomer Jerry Hairston, Jr., that drove home Nick Swisher for a 7-4 lead.
As the game entered the bottom of the eight, CC Sabathia was still on the mound when the first batter, Gordon Beckham doubled. This hit knocked CC out of the game as manager Joe Girardi replaced him with Phil Hughes, who struck-out Dye; walked Thome; and struck-out Konerko to set-up a first and second situation for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, now in the game to get a four-out save.
Rivera quickly allowed a RBI single to Carlos Quentin that cut the Yankees lead to 7-5. But, Mariano struck out the next batter Chris Getz for the final out of the inning.
CC Sabathia (11-7), ended up throwing 100 pitches over seven okay innings, allowing all five runs, on ten hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. The numbers are not great, but after the third inning, CC was very solid on the mound holding the lead into the eight inning.
After Melky Cabrera capped off his great performance with his historic triple in the top of the ninth, “The Great Mariano” closed out this 8-5 Yankees victory by pitching a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning recording his 30th save of the season, which is now seven straight seasons of at least 30 saves for Mariano.
All-in-all, not a bad weekend, as the New York Yankees remain in first place in the AL East, a half a game ahead of the second place Boston Red Sox, and five and a half games in front of the third place Tampa Bay Rays.
To view boxscore, click on: Melky hits for the cycle
The 15 “Cycles” in New York Yankees history (from the New York Post) …
1 — Bert Daniels (July 25, 1912) vs. Chicago
2 — Bob Meusel (May 7, 1921) at Washington
3 — Bob Meusel (July 3, 1922) at Philadelphia
4 — Bob Meusel (July 26, 1928) at Detroit
5 — Tony Lazzeri (June 3, 1932) at Philadelphia
6 — Lou Gehrig (June 25, 1934) vs. Chicago
7 — Joe DiMaggio (July 9, 1937) vs. Washington
8 — Lou Gehrig (August 1, 1937) vs. St. Louis
9 — Buddy Rosar (July 19, 1940) vs. Cleveland
10 — Joe Gordon (September 8, 1940) at Boston
11 — Joe DiMaggio (May 20, 1948) at Chicago
12 — Mickey Mantle (July 23, 1957) vs. Chicago
13 — Bobby Murcer (August 29, 1972) vs. Texas
14 — Tony Fernandez (September 3, 1995) vs. Oakland
15 — Melky Cabrera ( August 2, 2009) at Chicago
— Jimmy Curran, “BY&L” – “Baseball, The Yankees, and Life”