As the second game of this two-game mini-series against the Texas Rangers entered the sixth inning, it did not look very good for the New York Yankees. Cliff Lee was cruising along to another complete game victory. Javier Vazquez was terrible; already out of the game after allowing six runs, on eight hits, two walks, and “no” strikeouts, in four and a third innings. And the Yanks were losing 6-1 in what surely looked like the Rangers would end the night with a two-game sweep of the Bombers.
Then, the Yanks scored a run in the sixth to cut the score to 6-2. And got a couple of RBI hits by Lance Berkman and Brett Gardner in the top of the seventh to tighten the score even more, but still in favor of the Rangers, 6-4.
More importantly, though, Lee was not going to pitch any further than the seven and a third innings he already tossed. Lee’s night ended in the seventh, like U.S. Grant was leading the charge. But making a powerful charge, comeback, and statement were the Yankees – the Yankees from the Bronx.
Until the seventh, Lee was pitching like the pitcher the Yankees had thought they made a trade for a few weeks ago. Brian Cashman tried to work out a deal, but better players from the Rangers brought the ace to Texas. The Yanks will have to wait until this winter before Lee starts seraching for houses in the New York area, again. Certainly the wait will be worth it. But Lee would have been a very important addition to the Yankees starting staff right now, even after seeing him leave yesterday’s game way too early. Of course, way too early as far as the Rangers were concerned.
Cliff Lee left the mound after throwing 106 pitches over seven and a third innings, in which he allowed four runs, on eight hits, “no” walks, and “eleven” strikeouts. Still a much better outing than Vazquez.
Lee’s departure started a parade of six relievers from the Rangers bullpen.
Marcus Thames (3-for-5), with two runs, and two RBI’s, blasted a home run, his fourth this season, in the top of the eight, to close the score to 6-5.
After Mitre and Wood held the Rangers scoreless in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, this game entered the top of the ninth with the Yanks still trailing 6-5.
Texas Manager Ron Washington mixed and matched pitchers in the ninth, starting with closer Neftali Feliz.
Feliz walked Berkman, which was followed by a single by Brett Gardner (2-for-4). Derek Jeter (3-for-5) was up next, and was set to bunt the runners over. But Feliz threw a wild pitch which did the same job a bunt would have done – advance both runners.
Curtis Granderson was now in the game as a pinch-runner for Berkman, and scored the tying run on a RBI single up the middle [of a drawn-in infield] by Jeter.
The next batter, Nick Swisher, struck out.
Thames was up next and faced new reliever Alexi Ogando.
And, Marcus Thames delivered once again, by lining a RBI single to leftfield that moved the Yanks into the 7-6 lead.
The Yanks battled all the way back from being down 6-1, to now taking the lead into the bottom of the ninth inning.
Enter The “Great” Mariano Rivera.
The inning started like the night before for Mariano, by giving up a hit. This time a triple to Elvis Andrus.
So, with the tying run at third, Mariano retired Michael Young on a fly ball to right for out number one; Got Josh Hamilton to hit a soft ground ball to the mound for the second out; And, ended the game by getting Vladimir Guerrero to hit a grounder to third for the final out, which earned The Great Mariano his 24th save.
Game over. The Yankees win 7-6, completing their comeback and statement.
– Jimmy Curran “BY&L” – Baseball, The Yankees, and Life …