During this past off-season the Yankees explored the idea of signing free agent Bengi Molina to split the team's catching duties with Jorge Posada, and possibly circumvent Posada's $12 million option for 2007 from kicking in. The front office decided against it, feeling that it would affect Posada's performance. It was a wise choice. Molina has lost playing time with the Toronto Blue Jays while Posada has had one of his most consistent seasons. That $12 million option will kick in when he starts against Baltimore today. Last night he celebrated early with a game winning 9th inning home run against the Orioles.
The Yankees had squandered a 3-0 lead and trailed 4-3 as they entered the 8th. But new arrival Craig Wilson doubled in the tying run and Posada's 14th home run pushed the Yankees ahead 5-4. Mariano Rivera pitched the 9th, getting Ramon Hernandez to bounce into a game ending 4-6-3 double play to preserve the victory. Posada's home run bailed out a mediocre performance by Randy Johnson and a lack of timely hits by his teammates, who left 13 men on base.
Johnson was handed a 3-0 lead after the first two innings, but struggled with his control, his mechanics, and probably his psyche as the Orioles came back. In the 3rd, the Orioles produced 2 runs on consecutive singles by Chris Gomez, Brian Roberts, and Fernando Tatis, and an RBI ground out by Melvin Mora. Two innings later the Orioles took the lead when Tatis hit his first major league home run since 2003 and Mora and Miguel Tejada hit consecutive drives off the scoreboard in right field. The score may have been worse than 5-3, but rightfielder Bobby Abreu threw out Tejada trying to reach 2nd.
Johnson finally had a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th and Ron Villone and Scott Proctor combined for a pair of scoreless frames to enable the Yankees to come back. Jason Giambi reached on a one-out walk in the 8th and Posada followed with a single to left. Craig Wilson then a hit deep drive to right that resulted in an RBI double to tie the score 4-4. After Melky Cabrera was intentionally walked, the Orioles escaped with the lead as Bernie Williams popped out and Johnny Damon lined out.
The Yankees jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the 1st when Damon led off the ball game with his 14th home run of the season. The Yankees added 2 more in the second when Wilson doubled and Cabrera followed with a single to put runners on the corners with on one out. Miguel Cairo brought them both home with a double to the gap in left-center.
Robinson Cano had three hits in his rehab stint at Double-A Trenton and is still expected to be activated on Tuesday in Chicago. Nick Green will probably be designated for assignment to make room on the roster.
Bubba Crosby has been up and down from the minor leagues in his 3 year stint with the Yankees, but he was shaken yesterday when the team designated him for assignment to recall another arm. Right-handerJose Veras was recalled from Columbus to take his place. There's a good chance that Crosby will catch on with a team, especially the Floria Marlins since Crosby is a favorite of manager Joe Girardi.