I guess the ankle is okay. Soup to nuts, Alex Rodriguez is your American League MVP. His performance Wednesday night is the kind that voters remember at the end of the season. In a big game against his old team, Rodriguez delivered the biggest hits. He ain't no choke artist this year.
The Yankees were down 2-1 when Rodriguez led-off the seventh inning with a long home run against Jarrod Washburn. When he came to the plate again later in the inning it was thirty minutes later and the lead was up to 7-2. Now he hit another home run, a two-run line drive into the left field seats. That makes 48 homers, 134 RBI, and 127 runs scored.
The Mariners used six pitchers, the Yankees scored eight runs and the half-inning last just under forty minutes. Good ol' American League baseball.
For a second straight night, the Bombers erupted late turning a close game into a blowout. Final: Yanks 10, M's 2. Washburn was his usual stingy self against the Yanks, crafting six effective innings. Phillip Hughes had his best start since returning from injury. His fastball was lively, he was throwing his curve ball well, and challenged the hitters. Went right at them. His only mistake was a 2-0 fastball to Raul Ibanez in the third inning. The pitch caught too much of the plate and Ibanez stroked a line drive home run to right, giving the M's a 2-0 lead.
A solo shot by Jose Molina in the bottom of the inning brought the Yanks to within one and Hughes worked out of trouble in the fourth. With a runner on third and one out, he got a strikeout and a ground ball. Then he worked a perfect fifth and sixth (with some help from Duncan who threw out Ibanez trying to stretch a single into a double to lead off the sixth).
The Mariners were hurt even more by luck. A botched play at second, allowing Molina to reach safely, and later, a routine ground ball that reached the outfield because second baseman Jose Lopez was out of position moving towards second on a hit-and-run play. Ichiro was robbed by two bad calls on the bases--one at second (phantom tag by Jeter), the other at first. The M's were upset with home plate umpire Larry Vanover's strike zone all night (with good reason, he was all over the place). Rick White got himself thrown out by Vanover he was so frustrated.
Joba Chamberlain pitched a one-two-three seventh and earned his first career victory. A necessary win for New York. An awful loss for Seattle. The Yankees now travel to Kansas City with a three-game lead over the Mariners. Most of all, it was another great night from Mr. Big Stuff (the team's second best player Jorge Posada drew a key pinch-hit walk in the seventh), the best player in the league.