Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Damon Pulls Yankees to Victory

HR, Triple Rallies Bombers to 6-3 Win

The first 6 innings of baseball last night at Yankees Stadium looked like a bad 'B' movie. Another A-Rod error, hitters 1-7 with runners in scoring position, Mike Mussina battling through jams and the Yankees trailing 3-1. While it was playing out as less than star grade movie, the Yankees 'A' list stars turned things around as the Yankees rallied for a 6-3 win. The victory moved the Yankees 3 games ahead of Boston, which lost to Detroit 3-2.

Oriole’s starter Erik Bedard had held the Yankees to a run on 5 hits in 6 innings of work, but the patient Yankee hitters made Bedard work for it. Manager Sam Perlozzo had no choice but to go to the bullpen after Bedard tossed 106 pitches. The Yankees immediately pounced on the opportunity. Melky Cabrera led off the 7th with a single off of reliever LaTroy Hawkins. That brought up Johnny Damon who was 10-24 with 3 home runs against Hawkins. Damon made it 11 hits and 4 home runs when he ripped his 16th home run of the season into the rightfield seats to tie the game. The Yankees weren't done either.

Bobby Abreu lined a one-out Hawkins delivery to the gap in right-center. What should have been a double, turned into more when the ball skipped through the legs of rightfielder Nick Markakis, allowing Abreu to reach 3rd. Jason Giambi was intentionally walked to set up the double play with Alex Rodriguez coming up. A-Rod avoided the DP, but didn't know show much more when he fouled out for the 2nd out. Having already made a costly error in the game, he was serenaded with boos, despite the fact he had also driven in the Yankees 1st run. Robinson Cano picked A-Rod up though when he took an outside pitch from lefty Tim Byrdak and lined it to left for an RBI double and a 4-3 Yankees lead.

The Yankees got insurance in the 8th when Cabrera delivered a one-out single and came home on Damon's triple into the rightfield corner. The ball stayed in the corner rather than kicking out, so 3rd base coach Larry Bowa waved Cabrera all the way. In fact Bowa practically raced Cabrera to the plate as Melky scored ahead of a high relay throw. Derek Jeter's sacrifice fly brought home Damon with the final run. Then it was up to Mariano Rivera, who allowed a 2-out single to Brian Roberts before notching his 31st save.

The game was scoreless until the 5th when Yankees nemesis Kevin Millar hit a Mussina delivery into the leftfield seats for his 10th home run. Roberts led off the 6th with a double and advanced to 3rd on Melvin Mora's single. Miguel Tejada flied to shallow right, but Mussina left a pitch up in the zone to Jay Gibbons and Gibbons responded with a line single to right for a 2-0 lead. Mora raced to third and came home moments later when A-Rod booted a potential double play ball off the bat of Jeff Conine. Rodriguez could have still gotten the out at first, but his throw pulled Craig Wilson off the bag. Mussina retired Corey Patterson and Millar to get out of further trouble.

The Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the 6th when they loaded the bases with no one out. Derek Jeter led off with a single and Abreu and Giambi drew walks. Rodriguez dunked a single into left to cut the score to 3-1 and the bases remained loaded. But Bedard got out of the jam without any further trouble thanks to defensive help from his third baseman Mora. After Cano struck out, Jorge Posada lined a pitch that had 2-run single written all over it. But Mora leapt with glove extended and snared it for the 2nd out. Mora caught the ball in the heel of his glove and had to leave with a sprained thumb. X-rays were negative. Bedard got Craig Wilson to hit into a force out to end the threat.

Notes

Carl Pavano threw 56 pitches in a rehab start for Tampa yesterday. In 4 scoreless innings he allowed 1 hit, walked 1, and struck out 5.

Joe Torre said that Octavio Dotel is getting close to coming off the DL.

Veteran 1st BasemanCarlos Pena was released by Columbus yesterday. The move is most likely to allow Pena to try to hook up with a major league team when the rosters expand.

The Yankees are finally expected to officially sign their 2006 1st round draft pick Ian Kennedy.

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