If you love inning-ending double plays, this was definitely the game for you. Otherwise it pretty much blew. Though -- trying to accentuate the positive here -- the cold remains of Richie Sexson were, for one night at least, reanimated. Maybe tomorrow he’ll eat Tommy Hunter’s brains.
Josh Hamilton, in his first-ever at-bat against Andy Pettitte, hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and that pretty much set the tone: the Rangers led the rest of the way, eventually beating the Yankees 8-6. Hey, remember when Hamilton put on that great show during the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, and everyone was awed by his swing and his story and you just couldn’t help rooting for the guy?... I’m starting to get over that.
The game was fairly close much of the way, but it never really felt close. Pettitte didn’t collapse, but his five innings were a steady bleed: five hits, three walks, five runs. Rangers starter Matt Harrison pitched the game of his young and pretmaturely balding career, giving up just two runs in six and a third innings, thanks in large part to New York’s 1,213* double plays.
The Yankees fought back from 4-0 to make it 4-1, then 5-2. In the top of the seventh they loaded the bases with one out, but got only one run home, when Johnny Damon walked to force in Cano. (I could swear that when Joe Girardi pinch hit Melky Cabrera for Justin Christian with the tying runs on base, while sending Pudge Rodriguez in as a pinch runner, I could actually hear the distant anguished howls of Banter commenters several states away). In the bottom of that inning Brian Bruney gave up a three-run double to Chris Davis, giving the Rangers a six-run lead -- but New York turned around in the eighth and closed the gap to 8-6, on Sexson's grand slam.
So about the best thing you can say about last night was that the Yankees didn’t give up… but, still, they really looked like a stumbling team. (Probably it doesn't matter much: Robison Cano walked three times last night, which means the apocalypse is nigh and this will all be moot). I don’t know if they’re shaken up by Joba Chamberlain’s unnerving and still-ambiguous injury, but if so you can’t really blame them – the fans sure are.
But hey, turn those frowns upside down, guys: Sidney Ponson is starting tonight! If anybody needs me I’ll just be under my desk, in the fetal position.