YANKEES 8, DODGERS 6
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over”
— Yogi Berra
It wasn’t just Alex Rodriguez’s one-out single or
Curtis Granderson’s magnificent battle to draw a walk to load the bases or David Huffman’s bases-loaded two-run single or even Colin Curtis’ 10-pitch at-bat to tie the game on a infield grounder.
It was the team as a whole and the New York Yankees proved to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night that they have a team with dogged resolve.
Down 6-2 in the top of the ninth inning with Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound the Yankees rallied for four runs to tie the game and make a hero out Robinson Cano in the 10th inning.
Cano, who was 0-for-11 in his career against Dodger left-hander George Sherrill, laced a 0-1 pitch into the left-centerfield pavilion with Alex Rodriguez on base to give the Yankees an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over the incredulous Dodgers and manager Joe Torre.
Mariano Rivera (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings in relief to earn the victory. Ramon Troncoso (1-2) was saddled with the hard-luck loss as the Yankees took the three-game series 2-1 and ended their road trip at 4-2.
With the victory the Yankees raised their season record to 47-28 and maintained their two-game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Tampa Bay Rays are three games out. Meanwhile, the Dodgers, who have lost eight their last 10 games, are now 40-35 and fading in the National League West.
Rodriguez probably said it best after the game: “It took 25 guys, and the bullpen did a really nice job, and great at-bats late in the game.”
- Games like this only grow the MVP credentials for Cano. Cano was 0-for-3 in the game until the ninth inning when he doubled in Rodriguez to make the score 6-3. His two-run home run in the ninth gave the Yankees their 8-6 margin of victory. Cano now has a team-leading 15 home runs and he is second to Rodriguez in RBIs with 53. By the way he also leads the majors with a .359 average. Despite being charged with an error in the game, Cano has committed only two errors all season.
- Rodriguez also wrapped up a series of which he can be proud. If he wanted to show Torre up he did. Rodriguez was 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs and four RBIs. In Sunday’s game he was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer in the sixth inning and he scored three runs. Rodriguez raised his batting average to .285 over the weekend.
- You can’t say enpough about the ninth-inning at-bats off Broxton by rookies Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis. Huffman laced a 1-1 pitch into right-field to score Cano and Jorge Posada to make the score 6-5. Curtis fouled off four consecutive 3-2 offerings before grounding a ball to James Loney at first base. Loney stepped on the bag to retire Curtis for the second out but Granderson scored the tying run from third base.
- Rivera, even at age 40, proves he is still the best closer in baseball. For the second time on the road trip, Rivera pitched two innings to nail down a victory. Rivera gave up just one hit and fanned three in lowering his season ERA to 0.92.
- Andy Pettitte lost his composure but it was not because of his pitching. Pettitte basically misplayed two sacrifice bunts. In the third inning on a bunt by Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw, Pettitte threw wide of Rodriguez at third base trying to get Reed Johnson. Later in the same inning, Pettitte fielded a bunt by Ronnie Belliard and threw the ball into him at first base, though Cano was charged with the error for dropping the throw. That cost the Yankees three runs in the inning.
- Pettitte also was not pressed much by the Dodgers’ power hitters. It was the singles hitters like Johnson, who doubled twice and Belliard who homered off Pettite in the fourth inning. The Yankees were down 5-0 largely due to the errors, Johnson’s two leadoff doubles and Belliard’s home run.
- The Yankees could do nothing with Kershaw in the first seven innings. Other than Rodriguez’s two-run homer, the Yankees could not put a rally together on the 22-year-old left-hander. He walked none and struck out five.
- Joba Chamberlain got into trouble in the eighth inning when allowed pesky Jamey Carroll to get on with an infield hit with two outs. Carroll stole second and scored on a Rafaell Furcal double to make it 6-2 heading to the ninth inning.
Brett Gardner was removed from the game in the fourth inning after he was hit on the right forearm by a pitch from Kershaw in the third inning. No X-rays were taken but Gardner is scheduled to visit team doctor Chris Ahmad on Monday to determine the severity of the injury. Gardner was replaced in the field by Chad Huffman, who later keyed the Yankees come-from-behind victory with a two-run single in the ninth inning. . . . The Yankees expect to have pitching coach Dave Eiland back in the dugout for Tuesday’s game. Eiland left the Yankees for personal reasons on June 4 and Mike Harkey has been the acting pitching coach. Considering the pitching woes of A.J. Burnett the Yankees will be pleased to have Eiland back. . . . Rodriguez and Torre finally exchanged pleasantries before Sunday’s game. Torre put his arm around his former third baseman and Rodriguez smiled as they greeted each other. Rodriguez said to reporters that he chose to say hello to Tore in order to not let things fester between the two. Torre apparently rankled Rodriguez with comments he made about the All-Star in his book. Rodriguez also seems to be still angered by Torre’s decision to bat him eighth in a playoff game against the Tigers in 2006.
THE NEXT GAME
The Yankees come home to open a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners that will begin on Tuesday night.
The Yankees will open the series with right-hander Phil Hughes (10-1, 3.17 ERA). Hughes, who had his last start skipped, will be shooting for his sixth straight victory. IN his last five starts, Hughes is 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA. Hughes is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four appearances against the Mariners.
The Mariners will counter with veteran left-hander Cliff Lee (6-3, 2.39 ERA). Lee has a streak of 37 consecutive innings without having given up a walk. He has 76 strikeouts and four walks in his last 11 starts. Of course, the Yankees last saw him in the World Series, where he won Game 1 and Game 5 for the Phillies, the only two games the Phillies won in the series.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally by MY9.