After winning eight straight, the Yankees can't seem to get out of their own way. They lost again to the Orioles, this time 7-6. This one was a heartbreaker. Not because it was such a well-played game. But because the Yankees came back and had their chances to win but couldn't get over the hump. This game was a hump. And so was Aubrey Huff.
Darrell Rasner wasn't that bad. He gave up two runs through the first six innings. But Brian Roberts led off the seventh with a base hit and then Rasner plunked Adam Jones. Damaso Marte came in and Rasner was last seen cursing at himself in the dugout. Nick Markakis fought off a fastball for a cheap hit. Bases juiced.
Then Aubrey Huff wacked the first pitch deep to right, but it hooked foul. He swung through the next pitch, a fastball, then crushed the next pitch, another fastball that caught too much of the plate, into the gap in left center field, clearing the bases. Melvin Mora doubled Huff home off the first base bag to put the Yankees down 6-1.
Daniel Cabrera pitched well...again. But in the bottom of the seventh, he plunked Alex Rodriguez--who homered in his previous at-bat--and was thrown out of the game. (There was no further incident). Couple of batters later, Robinson Cano singled with the bases loaded and nobody out, scoring two and the Yanks were in business, down 6-3. But Wilson Betemit whiffed, then Melky Cabrera lined out to center (the ball almost took off on Jones, who did a late little leap to snag it), before Xavier Nady struck out looking at a nasty breaking ball to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, the YES cameras showed a red lady bug on the right side of Mariano Rivera's hat as he warmed up. Then freakin Aubrey Huff blasted the first pitch he saw from Rivera deep into the upper deck. It went foul but it was closer to a homer than his shot against Marte. Two pitches later, Huff cranked another lousy fastball over the wall in right for a dinger. Got-to-be-kidding-meSomehow, Huff should be credited with more than just one homer, don't you think?
It prooved to be the difference.
George Sherrill, Baltimore's All Star lefty, gave up a single to Johnny Damon to start the bottom of the ninth. He got ahead of Jeter 0-2, but walked him. Bobby Abreu laced the first pitch he saw into left scoring Damon and putting runners at second and third with no out. Rodriguez got a good hack on a breaking pitch but hooked it foul and struck out on a fastball in his kitchen.
Giambi fell behind 0-2 and then lined a 1-2 pitch up the middle. It bounced off the mound, right past Sherrill, into left field. Two runs in, Yanks down by one. The "Yanks are showing some guts showing some grit," Michael Kay said on on TV.
Justin Christian replaced Giambi and stole second on the first pitch, a strike, to Cano. "See that, see Michael," Paul O'Neill said, as if he was showing Kay the goose bumps on his arm, "That just gives me a thrill." Then he talked about guts as Cano struck out on three pitches. Leaving it all up to Betemit. Ah, Betemit. Right-handed, no less. What happened?
Betemit struck out and so did the Yanks.
A tough loss. Sox fell too, almost got no-hit. But the Rays won.
Joba needs to stop the bleeding tomorrow afternoon.