Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yankees Grab 1st Place

Yankees Have Got Sole

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

WP - Pettitte (5-1) SV - Rivera (10) LP - Lee (2-6)

It’s a statistic that is hard to imagine for a team that has had its’ share of success since the mid-90’s. With the Yankees‘ 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians last night, the Bombers moved into sole possession of first place in the AL East for the first time since the final game of the 2006 season. They won for the 13th time in 16 games despite a shaky outing from Andy Pettitte, who walked five batters in 5+ innings and had to leave the game in the 6th with a sore back.

The offense wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the 1st inning, but scored a pair of runs off reigning AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee in the 2nd and never trailed. A one-out walk to Nick Swisher and a single by Brett Gardner put runners on the corners for the red hot Derek Jeter (11-24 over the last four games, and a 2-game hitting streak). The Captain came through with an RBI single to left field for a 1-0 lead. Johnny Damon’s single loaded the bases and set up Mark Teixeira’s RBI ground out.

The Yankees added their final run in the 3rd on singles by Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada, and a sac fly by Swisher. Then it was up to Pettitte and the bullpen to make the lead stand up. The Yankees’ left-hander escaped a 2-on no-out situation in the 2nd with three ground ball outs. In the 3rd, he walked Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta to load the bases with two outs, but retired Mark DeRosa on a ground out to Cano.

Pettitte doubled over in the 4th after delivering a pitch, prompting a visit from manager Joe Girardi and assistant trainer Steve Donahue. Pettitte insisted he was all right, but when he walked DeRosa and Ben Francisco to start the 6th, and fell behind Jamey Carroll, 2-0, Girardi decided enough was enough. Pettitte, who strained his back in Texas, didn’t want to come out, but later admitted it was the right decision.

Al Aceves, the Yankees’ new version of Ramiro Mendoza, came on and completed the walk to Carroll to loaded the bases with no one out, but escaped with just one run scoring on a Shin-Soo Choo sacrifice fly. Aceves followed with two scoreless innings before Mariano Rivera came in to pitch for the first time since last Sunday. Choo led off the 9th with a flare single, but the Yankees’ closer struck out Asdrubel Cabrera and Grady Sizemore, and retired the dangerous Martinez on a ground out to Teixeira for his 492nd career save.

Game Notes

Mariano Rivera’s 10th save of the season was his 58th career save of an Andy Pettitte win. That breaks the major league record shared by Dennis Eckersley and Bob Welch.

To activate Jorge Posada, the Yankees sent fellow catcher Kevin Cash down to Scranton. The Indians recalled reliever Rafael Perez before the game and designated former Yankee David Dellucci for assignment.

Xavier Nady (elbow) and Jose Molina (quad) both played in an extended spring training game on Friday. Nady, who DH’ed, is expected to resume throwing on Monday.

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