Baseball is a funny game which is one of the many reasons that baseball is such a “great” game.
In the middle game of the three-game series against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh when they put this game out of reach, scoring five runs that capped the Yankees 9-2 victory.
Robinson Cano led off the seventh with a double, and Jerry Hairston, Jr. walked, setting-up a first and second, no out, situation for the next batter Melky Cabrera.
This is interesting because in the first game of this series the Yankees entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing the Rangers 10-5 when they put together a rally that almost tied or won that very exciting contest.
Joba Chamberlain pitched very poorly in the first game — a game in which I was at the new ballpark, with my brother, for my second visit. We were sitting all the way up in Section 405, Row 5, of the grandstand, just under the rightfield facade/frieze that was in about the same seat location that was under the frieze at the old Yankee Stadium in which the great Mickey Mantle once hit a hard line drive blast, off the frieze, just inches from traveling out of the old Stadium into the surrounding Bronx streets.
Anyway, the view was not as bad as I expected, except for any plays that were in the right and right centerfield parts of the field. But, the seats were close enought to hear the boos directed at Joba when he walked off the mound in the top of the fourth after he allowed seven runs, on nine hits, and three walks, in the game, wasting the 4-0 lead that the Yanks staked Joba to in the first inning.
Chad Gaudin allowed the other three Rangers runs on a solo homer by Nelson Cruz, and a two-run homer by Michael Young that made the score 10-5 through seven innings.
The score remained 10-5 as the Yankees attemped their comeback in the bottom of the ninth.
Damon led off the inning with a single, which was followed by back to back walks to Teixeira and A-Rod that loaded the bases; then, RBI singles by Matsui and Posada made the score 10-7.
Robinson Cano kept the rally going by stroking a two-RBI single that cut the Rangers lead to 10-9. There were now runners on first [Cano], and second [Hairston, pinch-running for Posada], with no outs.
In this game, Matsui, Posada, and Cano each had three RBI’s apiece accounting for all nine Yankee runs.
Now, returning to the seventh inning of the middle game of this series, with runners on first and second, and no outs, Melky Cabrera put down a perfect sacrifice bunt that actually ended up with Melky standing on first base after the pitcher made an error on the play which loaded the bases with no outs for Derek Jeter.
The “captain” promptly hit a two-RBI single that increased the lead to 6-2; then, Swisher doubled to make the score 7-2; and, finally, Teixeira hit a line drive two-RBI double down the rightfield line that completed the scoring in this five-run inning and gave the Yanks the 9-2 lead. The inning ended with Alex Rodriguez hitting into a 4-6-3 double play, and Matsui striking out.
Connecting these two games, I return to the ninth inning of the first game with runners on first and second, no outs, and the Rangers leading 10-9.
Nick Swisher was the next batter, and Joe Girardi called for a bunt.
Normally, I agree with most small-ball decisions; but, at the time, in that situation, it was not a move that I would have made.
Swisher has a great eye at the plate, with power, but certainly is not a great bunter.
The odds were probably just as great that Swisher would draw a walk, or get a hit, or hit a three-run, game-winning homer. He could have also struck out or hit into a double play. In this situation, though, I would have taken my chances with any move other than an attempted sac bunt.
If Melky was the batter, like in the middle game, the bunt would be the perfect play. But, as it turned out, Swisher bunted a pop up to the third baseman for the first out; and, Melky, who was up next, hit a hard liner to the shortstop that turned into a game-ending, unassisted double play on a close play at second in which shortstop Andrus just beat Hairston to the bag for the final out of this tough 10-9 loss by the Yankees.
The ball was hit very hard by Melky, and oh so close to being a game-tying base hit.
Baseball is a funny game.
— Jimmy, “BY&L”