Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Getting Away Okay
2008-05-08 16:23
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees hit four home runs this afternoon to overcome a rocky fifth inning from Mike Mussina and avoid being swept by the Indians in the finale of what proved to be a disappointing 4-5 homestand. Mussina allowed just one baserunner through the first four innings, but handed a 3-0 lead in the fifth thanks to home runs by Johnny Damon (a 330-foot pop fly to right field) and Jason Giambi (a two-run shot that sailed over the right field foul pole) in the bottom of the fourth, Moose gave it all back.

That inning started ominously when Mussina hit Ben Francisco in the back with a 2-2 pitch. Franklin Gutierrez followed with a single that dropped in front of Bobby Abreu and pushed Francisco to third. After a Ryan Garko pop out, Casey Blake hit a shot to deep right that Bobby Abreu was unable to catch up to at the wall (prompting Pete Abraham to ask, "Does Bobby Abreu wear one of those invisible collars that shocks him when he gets too close the wall?"). The ball hit the warning track, then the wall, and popped up in the air as Abreu spun around looking for it and Francisco trotted home. Finding the ball to his right, Abreu fired in to relay man Robinson Cano, who threw home to try to get Gutierrez attempting to score from first, but Cano's throw, which was in plenty of time, was low and skipped past Jose Molina allowing Gutierrez to score and Blake, who now has 22 RBIs on just 21 hits, to move to third. A subsequent single by Kelly Shoppach scored Blake, knotting the game at 3-3.

Cano instantly made up for his bad throw by leading off the bottom of the inning with a double. Wilson Betemit followed with a hard drive into the gap in left. Francisco tracked it down for the first out, but with his momentum heading back and toward center, Cano was able to tag and move to third with ease. With the go-ahead run on third and one out, Jose Molina hit a grounder to short that allowed Jhonny Peralta to freeze Cano in his tracks, but Johnny Damon picked Molina up with an RBI double that gave the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish.

In the seventh, Cano drove Indians' starter Paul Byrd from the game with a solo homer and Wilson Betemit greeted reliever Masa Kobayashi with a bomb over the 408 sign in dead center. Meanwhile, Ross Ohlendorf pitched two shutout innings allowing only a single. It was just the third time all year, Ohlendorf, who has been primarly used as a long reliever, pitched in a game the Yankees eventually won, and just the first time all year he pitched in a game the Yankees won by less than six runs. That was important, because the Yankees hope to eventually move Ohlendorf into a setup role.

Ohlendorf was followed by Joba Chamberlain, who faced two of the three batters he faced in his blown save on Tuesday night, Grady Sizemore, who walked to start Tuesday's rally, and David Dellucci, who homered to finish it. Rather than throwing lots of curve balls and getting beat on a fastball, as he did on Tuesday, Chamberlain threw lots of fastballs and struck out Dellucci on a slider to end a 1-2-3 frame. Mariano Rivera pitched around a double to pick up his ninth save and nail down the 6-3 Yankee win.

The Yankees now travel to Detroit to start a seven-game road trip against the Tigers and Rays before coming back home to face the Mets. Kei Igawa will make his 2008 Yankee debut tomorrow, but try not to think about that until you have to.

More encouragingly, Alex Rodriguez was taking grounders at third and cuts in the cage before today's game, and hitting some genuine blasts in batting practice. The Yankees say Rodriguez will get another MRI before being cleared for some rehab games, and all that (the MRI and the rehab games) will have to happen before he comes off the DL. Still, barring any setbacks, Rodriguez should be activated next week.

2008-05-08 17:20:24
1.   JL25and3
Wow, only two more series before we get to interleague play, in mid-May. That's the way to make a season interesting.

Ben Francisco needs to be nicknamed "Sam."

2008-05-08 17:23:38
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Actually, no, that's not full-fledged interleague, they just need to stick that extra Mets series somewhere. Interleague doesn't really get going until June 13.
2008-05-08 17:43:52
3.   Mattpat11
Nothing to pour cold water over a win like an impending Kei Igwa start.
2008-05-08 18:23:58
4.   Jeb
3 you never know...even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.
2008-05-08 19:34:47
5.   tommyl
Thankfully tomorrow I'll be at my sister's rehearsal dinner so I'll only have to deal with score updates. Here's hoping the K-man can channel whoever he did last year against the Red Sox.
2008-05-08 19:35:08
6.   tommyl
4 True, but he's much more likely to get run over by a truck.
2008-05-08 19:59:12
7.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
I didn 't see the ABs, but any reason to get excited about what Cano did?
2008-05-08 21:16:25
8.   SF Yanks
7 Definitely. He's looking much more comfortable at the plate and putting on good swings. Hopefully this is it.
2008-05-09 01:05:58
9.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Igawa Kei-san
Sun-glass,crack of bat
oh no, back to Qwest
2008-05-09 03:47:15
10.   RIYank
6 Either one works for me.
2008-05-09 04:43:06
11.   Ben
Good God, have you guys seen the two throws from Rick Ankiel? Threw out two guys at third from Center... The first one is prettier than the second, It's amazing really.
2008-05-09 05:55:50
12.   rbj
11 Yup. I wonder if he's ever thought about pitching

Sadly, I won't be able to make it up to Detroit for any of the games this year. :-((((

2008-05-09 06:15:49
13.   3rd gen yankee fan
9 Nice.
2008-05-09 06:52:43
14.   ChrisS
7 In his first AB he hit a 400 ft flyout to left center, the second was hard hit groundball double, and the third, he smoked a HR to right.

The weather's warming up and he may be as well. It's be nice to get a patented can-do-no-wrong Cano hot streak.

2008-05-09 06:56:45
15.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
Thanks for the 411 guys. And yeah - we know he's capable of some pretty sick numbers for decently extended stretches, like .400 over a month...
2008-05-09 08:59:23
16.   Chyll Will
10 et al, Have you ever seen a squirrel get run over by a speeding truck? In all instances it inspires a certain level of gallow's humor (horrible, yet oddly comical, just like the upcoming game thread will undoubtedly be...)
2008-05-09 09:24:46
17.   horace-clarke-era
16 Tonight's game thread? william's finest hour looms.

Actually, in the weird way sport so often does this, I have a shiny nickel (no, not more than that) that says Igawa can do something like 5 innings for 4 runs, which means if the pen steps up and we stop being seduced into flailing at out-of-zone junk by the Gambler, the squirrel can win.

Or we can hope for rain.

2008-05-09 09:34:36
18.   Chyll Will
17 The rain is in the lead so far.

And don't count out good ol' Mattpat; tonight may be a Banter Hall of Fame moment for him >;)

2008-05-09 09:52:01
19.   ny2ca2dc
18 Oh my god, I can't wait for Farnsworth to relieve Igawa. Then maybe to be replaced by Veras (also an object of Mattpat scorn, no?). And Pavano will make a special appearance.
2008-05-09 10:23:00
20.   Chyll Will
We're all counting on you, Mattpat. Don't Farns it, buddy! >;)
2008-05-09 11:27:33
21.   williamnyy23
17 I actually think Igawa will pitch decently tonight. Regardless, it is definitely worthwhile to give him a start or two and see if you can catch Aaron Small in a bottle.
2008-05-09 11:41:40
22.   rbj
19 Farnsworth relieving Igawa? Wasn't that banned by the Geneva Convention?
2008-05-09 12:03:08
23.   Chyll Will
22 Kyoto Treaty, which the U.S. refused to sign. Damn loopholes...
2008-05-09 12:12:26
24.   Chyll Will
23 Ah, but Kyle's suspension was reduced to one game today, so looks like fate has intervened on behalf of Planet Earth.

(then again, David Wells, who I'm beginning to suspect is a lurking Banter fan, is making noise about coming back... and Hank is listening. Someone here suggested this a few games ago, so he deserves a spanking with endangered flora if this does happen.)

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