Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gardner Sparks Yankees to 3rd Straight Win

No one knows who will be manning center field for the Yankees next season, but Brett Gardner left an impression last night of what he's capable of. Gardner doubled in a run, robbed Luke Scott of a home run, and threw out Nick Markakis at the plate, in the Yankees 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

The victory was the Yankees third in a row and moved them back into sole possession of third place in the AL East, ahead of Toronto. Carl Pavano provided an adequate five innings of work (2 ER, 6 hits, 1 BB, 2 K) to earn his 4th win of the season.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Aubrey Huff's RBI single, but Gardner threw out Markakis at home plate and had runners on the corners with no one out in the second. But Pavano escaped with just a sacrifice fly by Lou Montanez for a 2-0 advantage.

The Yankees tied the game up in the third against O's starter Radhames Liz, when Robinson Cano led off the inning with his 14th home run of the season, and Ivan Rodriguez singled, stole second base, and came home on Gardner's double to the gap in left-center field. What has become the norm for the 2008 Yankees then kicked in as Gardner was stranded.

Gardner then flashed the leather in the fourth when Scott drove a pitch to deep center field. Gardner raced back to the 408-ft sign, leapt, caught the baseball, and slammed into the wall. He sat on the warning track momentarily shaken up while Scott cursed on the base paths.

The Yankees have been more aggressive on the bases of late and it paid off in the fifth inning when Johnny Damon singled with one out, stole second base, and moved to third base on Derek Jeter's single. Liz retired Bobby Abreu on a foul out, but then wild pitched home Damon with the go ahead run. The Yankees again had a chance for more when Alex Rodriguez walked, but Jason Giambi grounded out to end the inning.

The Yankees refreshed pen has been looking better of late and they combined for four shutout innings last night. Phil Coke struck out the first two hitters in the sixth before a walk to Adam Jones and a Giambi throwing error (what else?) put two aboard. Joe Girardi sent for Brian Bruney, who made it a 'K' trifecta by striking out Montanez looking to end the threat.

Bruney and Damaso Marte combined for a scoreless seventh inning and Joba Chamberlain struck out the side in the eighth. Then it was on to Mariano Rivera, whose usual ovation was even louder as the days at home are dwindling. The greatest closer of all-time made things interested when a pair of two out singles and an error put runners on the corners, but he got Brian Roberts to pop out to Ivan Rodriguez, on the first pitch, to pick up save number 37.

News and Notes

Mariano Rivera's save was career number 480. Ivan Rodriguez had trouble at first picking up the final pop up and gave Mo a hug of relief after catching it.

Derek Jeter donated the spikes he wore in his record breaking hits game to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

No comments:

Post a Comment