Friday, April 11, 2008

The Blue Print to Success

Andy Pettitte did last night what Andy Pettitte (1-1) has done so many times in his Yankees career. Stop a losing streak. Pettitte was just what the manager ordered, 6.2 innings pitched and just 1 run allowed. That allowed Joe Girardi to turn things over to Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera to close things out.

The Yankees offense showed some life as well, blowing the game open late so that Rivera was pitching in a non-save situation. The 6-1 victory moved the Bombers back to .500 (5-5).

Things didn't start out well though. The Royals scored a run off of Pettitte in the first and the left-hander, who passed Mel Stottelmyre with 165 career wins in Pinstripes (good for 6th in franchise history), was having trouble throwing first pitch strikes. But Melky Cabrera hit his 2nd home run of the season off lefty John Bale (0-2) to tie it in the 3rd, and Jose Molina's double play grounder drove in the go-ahead run in the 4th. And the rains came.

The rain actually hadn't started yet when the game was stopped in the 4th, and the tarp was put on the field. The timing was perfect as torrential downpours started shortly thereafter. But the game was delayed only 22 minutes. It was enough time though for Pettitte to re-group. He was much better after the stoppage and the Yankees began tacking on runs.

Morgan Ensberg started the 5th with a single, moved to 2nd on Alberto Gonzalez's sacrifice bunt, and moved up another 90 feet on Johnny Damon's infield single. Cabrera's 2nd RBI of the night, a single to right, drove in one run, and Damon came home on Alex Rodriguez's ground out.

Chamberlain ran into some trouble in the 8th, allowing a pair of singles, but struck out Jose Guillen with a 99 mph fastball to end the inning. The Royals turned the game over in the 9th to Hideo Nomo, who hadn't pitched in the majors since the 2005 season. The Yankees weren't feeling all warm and fuzzy. A-Rod and Jorge Posada hit back-to-back home runs to extend the Yankees lead to 6-1.

For A-Rod it was home run #520, putting him one behind Ted Williams and Willie McCovey on the all-time list. It was also his 1,510th RBI, putting ahead of Mickey Mantle for 46th all-time. And finally, it was his 175th home run as a Yankee, tying him with Bobby Murcer (he's also just 2 behind Jason Giambi, who has been with the Yankees 2 years longer).

News and Notes

Jorge Posada
is unlikely to catch tonight in Boston, but could serve again as DH. With Bobby Abreu back in the lineup this evening, Girardi may opt to give Hideki Matsui a night off. Matsui admitted that his knee is still not 100%. Posada's home run was his first of the season.

Derek Jeter will not be in the lineup tonight. Jeter has yet to run or take infield so it's out of the question.

Jose Molina continues to make us smile. He's the first Yankees backup since, well Joe Girardi, that can throw out would-be base stealers, and do some hitting. A 2-4 night put him at .318, the same average he hit in 29 games for the Yankees last year. Not bad for a career .244 hitter.

Damon, LF5110011.211
Cabrera, CF5122001.320
Rodriguez, 3B4112101.297
Posada, DH4221111.238
Matsui, RF5010013.314
Molina, C4020001.318
Cano, 2B3000101.179
Ensberg, 1B4120013.375
Gonzalez, SS3010001.333

2B: Molina (4, Bale).
HR: Cabrera (2, 3rd inning off Bale, 0 on, 2 out), Rodriguez (2, 9th inning off Nomo, 0 on, 2 out), Posada (1, 9th inning off Nomo, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Damon; Cabrera 5; Rodriguez 4; Posada 5; Matsui; Molina 3; Ensberg 2; Gonzalez.
RBI: Cabrera 2 (3), Rodriguez 2 (7), Posada (3).
2-out RBI: Cabrera; Rodriguez; Posada.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Ensberg 2; Matsui 2.
S: Gonzalez.
GIDP: Molina.
Team LOB: 8.

PB: Molina (1).
DP: (Rodriguez-Ensberg).
Pickoffs: Pettitte (Gordon at 1st base).

Pettitte (W, 1-1)6.25112103.09
Chamberlain (H, 3)1.12000200.00
Rivera 1.01000000.00

Gathright, CF4000001.194
German, 2B3000111.000
Teahen, LF4130010.344
Guillen, RF4011014.162
Butler, DH3010100.400
Gordon, 3B4010003.297
Gload, 1B4010001.333
Buck, C3000001.222
b-Olivo, PH1000001.200
Pena, SS2000000.037
a-Callaspo, PH-SS1010000.400

a-Singled for Pena in the 8th. b-Flied out for Buck in the 9th.

2B: Guillen (2, Pettitte).
TB: Teahen 3; Guillen 2; Butler; Gordon; Gload; Callaspo.
RBI: Guillen (5).
2-out RBI: Guillen.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Gordon; Buck; Guillen.
GIDP: Guillen.
Team LOB: 7.

PO: Gordon (1st base by Pettitte).

DP: (German-Gload).

Bale (L, 0-2)6.08441315.84
Nomo 3.04222126.00

WP: Pettitte, Nomo.
Pitches-strikes: Pettitte 92-58, Chamberlain 24-18, Rivera 18-11, Bale 86-58, Nomo 65-38.
Ground outs-fly outs: Pettitte 11-7, Chamberlain 1-1, Rivera 1-2, Bale 12-3, Nomo 5-3.
Batters faced: Pettitte 25, Chamberlain 6, Rivera 4, Bale 26, Nomo 15.
Inherited runners-scored: Chamberlain 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Rick Reed. 1B: Jeff Kellogg. 2B: Mark Wegner. 3B: Chad Fairchild.
Weather: 62 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 10 mph, R to L.
T: 2:52 (:28 delay).
Att: 16,143.

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