Monday, September 22, 2008

Pettitte Wins Stadium Finale

Last night's game, in some ways, was anti-climactic in comparison to everything else going on. Perhaps having non-Yankees announcers in John Miller and Joe Morgan was part of the problem. Especially since there times when they weren't saying what was going in the game. Class move by ESPN though bringing in Michael Kay to do a half inning and reminisce. Kay at least did actual play by play.

Andy Pettitte started out shaky and we were thinking, "no, this can't be the way to go out.". Thankfully Pettitte settled down enough and the Yankees bats woke up against Orioles starter Chris Waters.

Trailing 2-0 in the third, Hideki Matsui, who is undergoing knee surgery today, and Jose Molina started the inning off with back to back singles. Johnny Damon then belted his 16th home run of the season for a 3-2 Yankees lead.

Pettitte gave the lead right back on a game tying single by Brian Roberts in the fourth, but the Yankees countered in their half of the inning. Robinson Cano led off with a rare walk and one batter later Molina cracked his third home run of the season on to the netting in left field, for a 5-3 Yankees advantage.

Pettitte gave up a lead off single to Adam Jones to start the sixth and exited to a standing ovation and calls of "An-dy Pett-itte". The fans got their wish, a curtain call, and Jose Veras and Phil Coke combined to strand Jones and Oscar Salazar, who had walked.

The Yankees added to their lead in the seventh with the help of some shoddy Orioles defense. Bobby Abreu stroked a lead off single and easily stole second base. He moved to third on Alex Rodriguez's fly out and scored when Jason Giambi's pop up fell between Brendan Fahey and Melvin Mora for a gift RBI single.

Pinch-runner Brett Gardner moved all the way to third base when Fahey booted Xavier Nady's grounder and scored on Cano's fly to left for a 7-3 advantage. The Yankees went down in order in the eighth, including Derek Jeter. Jeter had a tough night at the plate, bothered by the baseball he took off his wrist and hand on Saturday (he would never admit it of course), going 0-5. He struck out twice looking and both times, argued more than usual with home plate ump/tough guy Angel Hernandez. In the eighth it would get no better, as he grounded to third to end the inning, but appropriately, he was the last Yankees batter in the game.

Joba Chamberlain pitched 1.2 innings and handed the ball over to Mariano Rivera in a non-save situation. But Mo had his wish, he would be the last pitcher to toe the rubber. retired RiveraJay Payton on a grounder to Jeter and Luke Scott on a bouncer to Cano. Girardi then pulled Derek Jeter from the game for another standing ovation and a curtain call to the chants of "Der-ek Jet-er". Rivera then retired Roberts on a grounder to Cody Ransom, who had replaced Giambi for defense at first base.

And just like that, the final game at Yankee Stadium was over. Andy Pettitte got the final win, Brett Gardner scored the last run, Jose Molina had the last home run, and Jason Giambi picked up the final RBI. It was a must win, and for once this season, the Yankees came through when they had to.

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