WP - Robertson (1-0) SV - Rivera (12) LP - Wilson (3-3)
Melky Cabrera had a miserable 2008 season. He barely hit his weight, had no power, was out of shape, and arguably, didn’t have the best attitude. He hit rock bottom when he was sent to the minors in August. He heard his name mentioned in various off-season trade rumors and came to spring training this year knowing he would have to compete for a job with rookie Brett Gardner. Despite hitting over .300 in the exhibition season, Cabrera lost out to Gardner and was relegated to the bench. But the stars aligned for Cabrera; the youngster struggled and the veterans started getting hurt. The Melkman jumped at his chance and took full advantage of it. Yesterday was another day for Cabrera to play hero, this time providing a game winning 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning.
The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 8-6 after being down 5-1 and blowing a 6-5 lead of their own. Chien-Ming Wang pitched a seamless two innings, racking up three strikeouts, but then the Rangers jumped all over him the second time around the lineup. The Yankees bullpen held Rangers to one run the rest of the way though to enable the Yankees to enjoy another come from behind victory.
Except for a Johnny Damon solo home run to start the home team’s first at-bat, the Yankees couldn’t muster anything against Rangers starter Brandon McCarthy until the 5th inning. The youngsters started it off, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter had the day off, with Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena stroking back to back singles. Damon walked to loaded the bases and Nick Swisher drew a free pass on a 3-2 pitch to force in the Yankees second run. Mark Teixeira, back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday with a bruised ankle, hit what seemed like a harmless squibber down the third baseline.
But the ball eluded the glove of Michael Young and trickled towards the left field corner. It allowed all three base runners to score to tie the game at 5-5 and Teixeira cruised into second with a gift double. Alex Rodriguez put the Yankees back on top with a long single off reliever Jason Jennings and Robinson Cano followed with a single of his own. But Jennings got out of the no-out jam when A-Rod was doubled off of second base on Hideki Matsui’s line out and Cabrera grounded out.
Ian Kinsler quickly tied the game back up in the 6th, with a solo home run off of Al Aceves, to set up Melky’s heroics. C.J. Wilson walked Cano to start the 8th and one batter later, Cabrera lofted a fly ball that barely cleared the wall in left field.
Mariano Rivera got into his own trouble as he tried to lock down the game in the 9th, putting runners on the corners with just one out. But Rivera struck out slugger Nelson Cruz and retired David Murphy on pop up to A-Rod to end the game.
Chien-Ming Wang was charged with 5 runs in 4.2 innings pitched, but still lowered his ERA to 14.46. You have to question the wisdom of throwing Wang after he pitched 3 innings on Sunday in Cleveland. Joe Girardi could have stuck with today’s scheduled starter, CC Sabathia, yesterday and thrown Wang today. It’s possible Girardi went with the philosophy that a sinkerballer is more effective when he’s a little tired.
Nelson Cruz’s home run ended Wang’s streak of 267 right-handed batters faced without allowing a home run.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, David Robertson became the first pitcher in three years to win a ball game after throwing just one pitch.
The Yankees open a 3-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at the Stadium. CC Sabathia (5-3, 3.46) faces hard throwing phenom David Price (1-0, 3.00).
And because I couldn't resist: