Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yankees Get 'Kneeded' Win

The Yankees failure to hit in the clutch, they left 21 men on, could have come back to haunt them yesterday, but thanks to Jose Molina's right knee they came away with a 4-3 win over the A's in 12 innings. Derek Jeter led off the inning with a single against reliever Lenny DiNardo and moved into scoring position on a Bobby Abreu ground out. DiNardo intentionally intentionally walked Alex Rodriguez and then unintentionally walked Richie Sexson to load the bases. Then an inside pitch banged off Molina's back knee to give the Yankees a "limp off" victory.

Rookie Dave Robertson picked up his first major league win, but it was Joba Chamberlain who left the biggest impression. He tossed a dominant 6 innings, throwing 96 pitches in 93 degree weather. Chamberlain allowed 1 run, 6 hits, and struck out 8 while walking just 1. He left with a 2-1 lead, built off A's starter Sean Gallagher, but a bases loaded wild pitch by Jose Veras in the 7th erased the deficit.

Mariano Rivera entered the game in the 9th and has happened often this season, he struggled in a tie situation. John Hannahan lead off with a single to left-center and pinch-runner Rajai Davis quickly stole 2nd base. Ryan Sweeney followed with a single to left to give the A's a 3-2 lead. Sweeney stole 2nd base as well as Jorge Posada's inability to throw out runners this season was further heightened by a wild pitch that ricocheted off his right hand. But Rivera bounced back to strike out the side to keep it a one run game.

A big at-bat by Jason Giambi against A's closer Huston Street to start the 9th looked like it would catapult the Yankees tinto a tie. Down 1-2 in the count, Giambi fouled off several pitches and eventually drew a walk. But pinch-runner Justin Christian stumbled and fell on a steal attempt and was chased down in a run down for the 1st out. Posada grounded out for the 2nd out, but red hot Robinson Cano doubled in the gap in left-center to give the Yankees one last chance. Wilson Betemit then did what the Yankees couldn't do all day, come through in the clutch. He singled back up the middle to score Cano with the tying run, allowing Molina to play Ricochet Rabbit and the hero for one day.

News and Notes

Johnny Damon took batting practice and said he's ready to be activated on Sunday.

It was the Yankees first hit by pitch walk off win since Clete Boyer took one for the team back on July 15, 1965.

Robinson Cano is hitting .333 (18-54) with a home run and 8 RBI in 14 July games.

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