Here we go again. Bottom of the 9th, the Yankees down to their final out. The bases are loaded and Alex Rodriguez is at the plate. I can barely watch. I am already thinking about how badly the fans will treat him. It's ridiculous to have those thoughts running through your head at such a crucial point of the game. O's closer Chris Ray has just thrown a 95 mph fastball past Alex to set up a 1-2 count. Then Ray tries to the throw the fastball again...and A-Rod takes him deep. A long grand slam into the black seats in centerfield sent Yankee Stadium into delirium today and gave the Yankees a come from behind 10-7 victory.
The win allowed the Yankees to feel good about themselves for the next 24 hours until they go out and go at it again. What can't be lost in all of this, however, is another poor performance by a Yankee starter. Kei Igawa made his MLB debut and stunk out the joint. Melvin Mora tagged him for a double and a HR, and 5 RBI, as Igawa gave up 7 runs in 5 innings. Sadly, it was the longest stint by a Yankee starter through the first 4 games.
But the bullpen did the job again, shutting down the O's over the final 4 innings. Then a blowout turned into a ball game in the 8th. Trailing 7-3, Jason Giambi followed walks to Bobby Abreu and A-Rod with a 3-run HR to make it a 1 run game.
The Yankees were down to the their final strike in the 9th - and yes, 2001 did flash thru my mind - when Robinson Cano singled back thru the middle. Derek Jeter walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Ray hit Abreu on the left knee with one of those 95 mph heaters. That set the stage for A-Rod's dramatic moment. No boos this time, just a curtain call. YES's Kim Jones was on the field for an immediate interview, and A-Rod admitted that it always seems like it comes down to him (we all know that means even if it doesn't). Oh, and it was A-Rod's 2nd HR of the game, to go along with 6 RBI.
The Yankees outfield is getting thinner and thinner. Johnny Damon was back, pinch-hitting in the 8th and staying in the game in CF. But Hideki Matsui left after 1 at-bat with a strained hammy, and Abreu's knee will surely be smarting tomorrow.
Brian Bruney, Mike Myers, Luis Vizcaino, and Mariano Rivera limited the O's to 1 hit over the final 4 innings, with Mo getting the win.
As expected, Jeter was in the lineup despite bruising his toe the night before. He went 0-4, plus the big walk in the 9th.
Tomorrow, Darrell Rasner becomes the 5th starter to try to give the Yankees a decent effort.