It was close for awhile. A Dave Winfield-like line drive home run by Jorge Posada and a Dave Kingman-like dinger by Alex Rodriguez--both solo shots--combined with fine pitching from Chien-Ming Wang to keep the Yankees ahead of the Mariners. Lots of ground balls, plenty of handy double plays from Wang tonight. Then, the Bombers blew the doors down and when the smoke cleared it was Yankees 12, Mariners 3. 20 hits for the home team. A typical Yankee win. Close game then the fireworks. The best image of the night was the look on Jeter's face as Rodriguez returned to the dugout after his upper deck homer. Jeter squinted as if to say, "Are you kidding me?"
The Tigers lost a close one to the White Sox, so the Yanks are two ahead of the M's, three-and-a-half ahead of the Tigers. A Nice Tuesday.
Here's a pitch-by-pitch of the game.
Ichiro. Strike. Ball, high. Soft, 4-3.
Vidro. Strike one. 4-3, bounce out.
I like it, I like it. Roll them ground balls, Wangarulo.
Red Ass Guillen. Ball, outside. Slider, low and away, 2-0. Fastball, up in his kitchen, spaz swing and a miss, 2-1. Guillen almost lost his balance on the follow through. Fastball, 4-3 chopper.
Melky. Strike. 6-3, bouncer. Didn't hit it hard.
D. Jeter. Foul. Fastball, up, fouled back. Just missed it, good swing. Fastball, away, 1-2. Fastball, low, 2-2. Fastball, fouled off to the right side. Spike Lee is sitting next to Brad Pitt and his son Maddox. Another fastball, fouled off, this one to the upper deck. Cutter or slider, in on the hands, emergency swing, fouled off. Fastball sliced to right, diving catch by the first baseman Broussard. Jeter robbed of a single. Nice play. Good at bat and good fielding.
Abreu. Ball. Double off the wall in left center field. Breaking ball up.
A Rod. Slider, strike, looking. Oh, man, that was sweet and meaty. Slider inside, 1-1. Another pitch inside, just inside, 2-1. 5-3, easy grounder.
Ibanez. Sinker, low, 1-0. Foul Full count, foul. Solid single to center.
Beltre. Inside, ball one. Same pitch, this time a strike, 1-1. Runner going. 5-3, Ibanez to second. One out.
Broussard. Ball. 4-3, the softest dribbler yet. Runner to third.
Johjima, rips a fastball foul. Sinker outside, weak ground ball to Jeter. Throw pulls Betemit off the bag at first but he has plenty of time to make the tag. Side retired.
Posada. Curve ball bends in there for a strike. Ball, away. Fastball, got it by him, swing and a miss, 1-2. Slider, low and inside. Curve ball, off the plate, full count. Line drive home run to left. Got out in a hurry. Dave Winfield-brand dinger. 17th of the year for Jorge, 79 RBI.
Matsui. Fastball, strike one. Breaking ball, away, 0-2. Breaking ball, further outside, ball one. Another breaking ball outside, Matsui lunges and fouls it off. Fastball, inside, ties him up. Matsui half-swings, strike three.
Shelley, aka Lurch. The crowd gives him a nice hand. Ball one. Strike one, looking. Ball two. Ball three. Fastball, he's too quick. 5-3, Duncan thumping down the line. Two out.
Cano. Fastball, Strike. Fastball, strike two, both looking. Breaking ball. Little grounder of the end of his bat towards second. It gets passed Ramirez who makes a stab at it. Broussard is out of position at first. Cano beats the throw and the throw is wild, Cano holds first. Cano has a single.
Betemit. Ball. Foul. Lunges, foul. Weak hack. He looks overmatched right-handed. Courtesy throw to first. Fastball, emergency hack. He's got no balance to his swing. Fastball, up base hit to center. He got a favor there. The ball was waist high, right over the plate. He went with it.
Melky. 6-4. Nice play by Yuniesky Betancourt at short, ranging far to his left. Saved run and made it look easy.
Larry David is at the game. Michael Kay says he's a great guy.
Lopez. Ball. Line drive to Abreu. One out.
Yuniesky Betancourt. Strike. 5-3. Hit well, nice hop for A Rod.
Ichiro. Ball, low. Fastball lined to center. Melky charges and makes the catch. All three balls were hit well. The fastball was up.
Jeter pokes at it. 1-3, easy.
Abreu. Four or five pitches in, line drive base hit to left.
A Rod. 6-4-3 double play. First pitch. A Rod immediately sags after swinging. For crying out loud.
Vidro. 1-3. One pitch, one out.
Guillen. Several pitches in 6-3, charging play by Jeter.
Ibanez. Ball. Strike, fastball, tailing away, mid-90s. Slider, inside, fouled off. Nice bite. Slider, or some kind of breaking pitch. Got him looking. Tough pitch. Ibanez, flummoxed.
Posada. Ball, inside. Ground ball through the right side, base hit. Career year, what can you say?
Matsui. Breaking ball, fouled off, and thank god, he was way out in front. Another looping breaking all, this one is too far outside, 1-1. Line drive knocked through the box. Ramirez gets his glove up and the ball knocks the mitt off his hand. But the ball deflects to the second baseman. Posada is tagged out, Matsui beats the throw to first. Just beats it. One out one on.
Shelley. Ball one. Slider ripped into the upper deck. Way out in front. A legit, "Whoa" from the jumping ones in the crowd. Foul tip, strike two. Fastball, Duncan leaning in, now turning away, up and in. Low and away, ball three. Matsui runs, Duncan swings and misses, Johjima throws Matsui out. "A Strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play." God, I hate Michael Kay.
Beltre. Sinker, low and inside, ball. Another sinker, swing and miss, 1-1. Fastball, inside, 2-1. Another fastball, tailing inside, 3-1. Sinker, right after him, Beltre fouls it back. It was up there to hit. Full count. Sinker, tails inside, ball four.
A lead-off walk.
Broussard. Now, it's our turn to turn two Ball one. Inside, ball two. Ball three, outside. Fat fastball, 3-1. Turn two Nope, ball four.
This isn't good.
Johjima. Ball one, away. Gator jogs out to have a word. Johjima has not walked in his last 99 plate appearances. Slider, strike one on the outside corner. Another one, swing and a miss, he's way out in front. Pulling way off. Another one, Johjima sticks the bat out and lines a ball past Jeter. Matsui charges. Beltre runs. The throw reaches Jorge on a short hop. Posada reaches back with his glove and tags Beltre. But the replay showed the ball was in Posada's hand not the glove. Close.
Lopez. First pitch. 5-4-3 double play. Awww, Bacon.
Cano. Single to center. Hits the ball hard at least once a night it seems.
Betemit. Strike. Bunting. Decent bunt down the third base line. Johjima pounces on it and makes the play easily. Slick. Cano to second.
Melky. Strike one. 4-1. Two out. Sox up 4-0 against Doc Halladay at Fenway. Dag.
Jeter. Two out, runner at third. Inside out swing. Soft line drive to Guillen in right, first pitch.
Yuniesky Betancourt. Fly ball out to center.
Ichiro. Line drive, base hit to center.
Vidro. Strike one, looking. Sinker, outside, check swing, ball. Single slashed to left. It was another sinker. Good hitting.
First and second, one out.
Guillen. Low, ball one. Fastball, taken for a strike. Applause. Wang steps off, Posada runs through the signs again sinker, in on the fists, humpback liner bounces in front of Cano. 4-6-3 double play. Thank you very much.
Abreu. The Yes cameras are showing a squirrel sitting on top of the foul pole in right field. He crawls down and gets cheered. Strike one. Breaking ball, away, 1-1. Strike two, looking. The fans are clapping and cheering, "Let's Go Squi-rrel." The squirrel climbs back to the top of the pole. Ball two. Fastball, way inside, ball three. Almost hit him. Abreu stares out. Breaking ball. High fly ball, just shy of the warning track in left center, deepest park of the park.
A Rod. Okay, asswipe, let's see a good ab here Breaking ball, high and away, 1-0. Another one, even worse, 2-0. He's not going to throw him a strike now Again with the breaking ball, A Rod nubs it off the end of his bat but it rolls foul. 2-1. Breaking ball inside, 3-1. Another breaking ball, inside, fouled off. A Rod steps out, steps in, twirls the bat. Ramirez steps off the mound. Another breaking ball hit, way, way WAY WAY UP in the UPPER DECK in LEFT. WHAT A MONSTER SHOT. That one sailed into the night. A Rod twirls the bat one time and lets it go, tries to keep composed, but breaks out into a huge grin as he rounds first. It is the smile of a man who is giddy with his own talent. Jeter just looking at A Rod as he comes back to the dugout like "Are you kidding me?" Classic. 510th dinger. MVP chants. Blue Jays pull to within 1, 4-3. Three-run bomb by my man Matt Stairs.
Posada. Full count. Fouling pitches off. Ball four. 10-pitch at bat. Now, that's the way to demoralize a starting pitcher.
Matsui. Posada runs, hit and run. Matsui slaps at pitch, but it hits Johjima's glove. Catcher interference is called and runners are on first and second, one out.
Shelley. Low, ball one. C'mon Lerch. Let er rip. Slider, taken for a strike. Oh dag, that looked smokeable, Meat. Slider, away, big swing and a foul tip. Another slider away, waved at, strike three. Terrible ab for Duncan.
Cano. Breaking ball, swing and a miss. Robbie way out in front of it. Single off the pitcher's mound into center. Posada rounds third, but Ichiro inexplicably chooses to go to third at the last moment. But since he made such a late decision, the ball slips out of Ichiro's hand and reaches the cut off man on a hop. Posada scores easily and Matsui reaches third. Ichiro would have had Jorge dead to rights at home. Jorge got away with one there. That's all for Ramirez.
Eric O'Flaherty, a lefty, pitching.
Betemit. First pitch fastball, lined up the middle, off Betancourt's glove. Matsui scores, 4-0.
Melky. 0-2. 1-2. 2-2. Ripped foul, Sheffield-style, but lighter. Another foul. Again a foul, this one Punched down the right field line. Ball three. Strike three, swinging.
Minky in at first for D. The Return of Minky.
Ibanez. Ball one. Foul. Ball, low and inside. Sinker, low, 3-1. Sinker, bounced up the middle. Wang hops up, snares it, throws to first for the out.
73 pitches for Wang
Beltre. Ball, low and away. Fastball, outside corner, 1-1. Fastball walloped onto the screen over the fence in the left center field. That was a Bomb. He launched it. Not so much height. A line drive with some arc.
Broussard. Strike one. Ball. Fastball, swinging. He chased that one. Posada goes out to talk to Wang. Fastball, inside, 2-2. 95 mph Sinker, check-swing, full count. Nobody is warming up in the Yankee bullpen. Crowd starts to cheer. Wang slowly winds, then delivers foul ball. Just low, ball four. He's just missing. Gator walks slowly to the mound. Half-way out he begins to trot. Vizcaino gets up to throw. Joba, still wearing a blue pullover, yawns and does some stretches.
Johjima. First pitch, 6-4-3 double play. Hey now!
Brandon Morrow relieving.
Jeter. Flies out to right on the first pitch. After that tough first at bat, Jeter has been hacking.
Abreu full count Line drive home run ripped to right. The squirrel still squatting on top of the foul pole.
A Rod. Breaking ball, called strike one. MVP chants. Change up, in, lined to left for a single. Another 2-4 night.
Posada. Strike, looking. The squirrel is down at the bottom of the pole now. Ball one. Ball two, outside. Low, outside, 3-1. Foul tip, 3-2 Alex Rod goes, time is called. A Rod, leaning, throw to first, but he gets back. Goes. Lined to left. A Rod goes into third head first. Slides in with his arm, safe. Beltre's weight rolls over A Rod's right ankle and A Rod rolls over in pain.
Torre and Monahan come rushing out. But it looks as if Rodriguez is okay. He stands up. Applies weight on his leg. Stays in the game. His detractors would be puking, thinking that he was just being overly dramatic. Chants of MVP and a pitching change.
Ryan Rowland-Smith, a lefty comes in.
Matsui looks at a breaking ball, 1-0. Another one, 73 mph, Matsui waves at it, 1-1. Fastball, in, 2-1. The Mariners have an army of call-ups. The kids are mostly on the top step of the dugout, watching. Funny to see so many players on the bench, especially when their team is also in the field Fastball, way up and in, 3-1. Overthrew it. Breaking ball, away, ball four.
Shelley "Frankenstein" Duncan. Fastball, up and away, Duncan takes a Conan cut, all over it, and tomahawks it past Beltre down the third base line for a double. Two runs score. Out and out hilarious. He was sitting on a fastball and was intent on swinging at virtually anything. 7-1, Yanks.
First and second one out. Damon pinch-running for Matsui.
Cano. Fastball away. Line drive to the right center field gap. Two RBI double. 9-1.
Rowland-Smith is out, John Parrish is in.
Minky. Strikes out on a full count breaking ball.
Melky. Jeter gives a bat to Brad Pitt for his son. Spike also has his little boy with him. Melky singles to right, Cano scores, Melky advances to second on throw home.
Jeter. Singles to center, Melky scores, 11-1. First hits for both Melky and Jeter tonight.
When they are good, they are good
Abreu. Dunks the 2-2 pitch into center for a single.
Alberto Gonzalez pinch-hits for A Rod. #63. His first big league at bat. He was part of the Randy Johnson trade. A glove man. Strike one, looking. Fastball, outside, 1-1. 6-4, force.
That half-inning took a half-an-hour.
Wang gets an out and then Ron Guidry comes out to the mound. He saw something he didn't like. Wang leaves with an injury? But it doesn't appear serious. Probably just got a little tight sitting all the time...
Jeff Clement's first big league at bat. 2-0 2-2. Swing and a miss, strike three.
Adam Jones, pinch-hitting for Ichiro I missed it. Jones reaches first.
Charlton Jimerson, another pinch hitter. What a great name. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, 5-3. Singles full count pitch off Vizcaino's glove. Viz botched the play.
Again with a big league debut pinch hitter. This time, it's, who else? None other than, Wladimir Balentin. Viz, wild, taking forever, down 2-1. Posada goes out to talk to him. 3-1. Double to left, 2 RBI. Welcome to the Majors, Wladi!
Britton replaces Viz.
Nick Green pinch-hitting. Sixth pinch-hitter of the inning. 1-3 ground out.
Posada. Line drive homer to right. Pouring it on.
19th Yankee hit. 12-3.
Damon. Bloop single to left.
Shelley. 5-4-3, double play.
Missed who was up but Johnny Damon makes a nice catch in foul territory, then gave a pound with his mitt to a fan.
Rob Johnson pinch hitting. His first big league at bat. Lines a 3-0 fastball to Melky. That'll learn him.