Monday, July 21, 2008

Yankees Sweep Closer to Competition

The Yankees still aren't getting the runs they need, but no one will argue with the pitching they are getting. Yesterday it was Andy Pettitte's turn to shut down the A's offense, allowing 1 run over 7 innings in the Yankees 2-1 victory. In completing the 3-game sweep of the A's, the Yankees starting triumvirate of Mike Mussina, Joba Chamberlain, and Pettitte, allowed 3 runs in 20 innings and struck out 23 batters.

In winning his 11th game of the season, Pettitte out dueled American League All-Star Justin Duchscherer, who still leads the AL with a 1.87 ERA. The A's tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the 6th, but Jason Giambi quickly untied it when he crushed his 20th home run of the season into the right field seats. It was the Big G's 384th career home run and his 197th as a Yankee.

Joe Girardi turned things over to Mariano Rivera in the 9th to convert his 24th save in as many chances. It was the 55th time Mo saved a Pettitte win, putting them two behind the all-time record of 57 held by teammates Dennis Eckersley and Bob Welch.

The Yankees pushed a run across in the 3rd inning when Derek Jeter reached on a one out ground rule double to centerfield, moved to 3rd base on Bobby Abreu's single, and scored on Alex Rodriguez's sacrifice fly. A's manager Bob Geren argued that Jeter left early, enabling him to just beat the strong throw from right fielder Ryan Sweeney, but 3rd base ump Jim Hoye felt otherwise.

The Yankees actually had a chance in the 1st inning, but Sweeney, who had a tremendous series nailed A-Rod at the plate. Rodriguez had singled with 2 outs and moved into scoring position on Giambi's walk. Robinson Cano singled hard through the right side and 3rd base coach Bobby Meacham waved A-Rod home.

But the Yankees 3rd baseman had slowed near the 3rd base bag and was a dead duck at home. Though there was culpability on both their parts, Meacham has proven this season that he's as bad a 3rd base coach as he was a player.

The A's tied the game up in the 6th after John Hannahan led off the inning with a ground rule double. Mark Ellis sacrificed him to 3rd and Sweeney singled him in.

News and Notes

A decision will be made on Hideki Matsui today, with surgery being the most likely option. Though Johnny Damon pronounced himself ready to go, the Yankees kept him inactive and may not bring him back until this weekend's series with the Red Sox.

Robinson Cano continues his torrid hitting. He was 2-4 on Sunday and is hitting .345 in July. Oddly, Cano is hitting .308 against left-handers and just .237 against righties.

With losses by the Rays and Red Sox, the Yankees trail the 1st place Rays by 4.5 and the Wild Card leading Sox by 3 (2 in the loss column).

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