Monday, May 18, 2009

Walk Off This Way

Damon Gives Yankees Heavenly Win

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
2 8 0
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1
3 9 0

WP - Aceves (2-0) LP - Crain (2-2)

Sunday was just another day in the Bronx. Tight ball game, lost leads,comebacks, extra innings, a walk off win. Maybe the last three days haven’t gone the way Joe Girardi would have drawn them up, but he’s clearly happy with the outcome. Yesterday’s hero was Johnny Damon, the team’s hottest hitter. With the game tied 2-2 in the 10th, Damon sent the paying customers home happy with a second deck blast off of Jesse Crain for his 10th home run of the season and the Yankees third straight walk off win. It was also the team’s season high fifth victory in a row.

A.J. Burnett and Kevin Slowey locked up in a scoreless duel until the 7th inning when the Twins pushed a pair of runs across on a Matt Tolbert RBI single and a wild pitch. But the Yankees came right back against Slowey in the home half of the inning. Alex Rodriguez started things off with his 3rd home run of the season to cut the lead in half and Hideki Matsui followed with a double into the right field corner. Nick Swisher laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Matsui to third base and Melky Cabrera brought Godzilla home with a fly out to left. The ball wasn’t deep, but Denard Span’s throw was well up the first base line.

The Twins had a chance to take the lead in the 8th when they loaded the bases with one out against Jonathan Albaladejo, but Brett Tomko came on to get Span on a force out at home and Tolbert on a foul out that ended the inning.

The Yankees had their own chance in the bottom of the 9th when Jose Mijares walked Swisher to start the inning and Cabrera sacrificed pinch-runner Brett Gardner into scoring position. Francisco Cervelli, batting for the first time in the game, hit a comebacker that deflected off Mirajes and towards home plate. Gardner saw Joe Mauer vacate home plate and never stopped running as he anticipated Mauer’s throw to first. There was just one problem- Mauer never threw the ball. Instead he raced Gardner to the plate, getting there just ahead of the Yankees’ speedster to tag him out. It was an aggressive play, but not a smart play with Robinson Cano waiting on deck.

But all was forgiven in the 10th when Damon delivered another game winner and Burnett delivered another celebratory towelful of whipped cream to the face.

Game Notes

Al Aceves picked up his second win of the season and his second in as many days.

It was thought that Mariano Rivera would be unavailable after throwing two innings on Saturday, but he tossed a scoreless 9th.

It was the first trifecta of walk off wins by the Yankees since August 27 and 29, 1972, when the Yankees played back to back doubleheaders. The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 7-6 in the opener on Johnny Callison’s bases loaded single in the 9th. The nightcap went 16 innings after the Yankees scored a pair of runs to tie the game in the 9th. Horace Clarke’s sacrifice fly gave the Yankees a 9-8 win.

The third victory came against the Texas Rangers in an 11 inning opener of a twinbill. The Yankees again tied the game up in the 9th before a Callison single once again gave the Yankees a 7-6 victory.

The Yankees go for a sweep of the four game series tonight with Andy Perkins facing Glen Perkins.

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