Miranda Gets It Right
Written for Baseball Digest Online
The Yankees are supposed to be taking it easy these days. Resting up for the post-season onslaught. But they celebrated last night’s 15th walk-off win of the season in their usual 2009 manner. And a new player was indoctrinated with a pie in the process. Juan Miranda capped a 9th inning comeback, singling in the game winner in the Yankees 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Derek Jeter (breaking Lou Gehrig’s team hit record) and Mariano Rivera (500 saves) were honored prior to the game for the new heights they achieved this season, but it was some first year Yankees that combined for the victory. Robinson Cano had tied the game up at 3-3 with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly that scored rookie Francisco Cervelli from 3rd base. Eric Hinske, who had singled earlier in the inning, stole 2nd base, and moved to 3rd when John Buck’s throw sailed into center field. Former Yankee Kyle Farnsworth intentionally walked Johnny Damon in order to face rookie Juan Miranda.
The Cuban native entered the game in the top of the 9th for Mark Teixeira and had just 15 big league at-bats. He hit a ball sharply back up the middle that ricocheted off of Farnsworth and into foul territory on the 1st base side. Miranda reached 1st base uncontested and raised his arms in a victory salute as Hinske scored the game winner. He was then mobbed by his joyous teammates and then got the special treatment of pie ala towel courtesy of starter A.J. Burnett, who had pitched impressively for the second straight start.
Burnett’s consistency is one of the Yankees biggest concerns entering the post-season, but his last two starts have done a lot to allay those fears. Last night he allowed just three hits over 6 1-3 innings and struck out 8 before leaving with two men aboard and the game tied at one apiece. Phil Coke’s physical and mental errors put the Yankees down 3-1 and would have saddled Burnett with the loss had the Yankees not come from behind.
Nick Swisher chipped away at the lead with a long home run off of rookie Anthony Lerew in the 7th to cut the deficit to one. Teixeira had earlier hit his 39th home run, tying him with the injured Carlos Pena for tops in the American League.
Brian Bruney had another effective outing, retiring four of the five batters he faced. He also picked up the victory to improve to 2-0.
Yogi Berra, Tino Martinez, Reggie Jackson, David Cone, Bernie Williams, Tim Raines, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada were among the current and former Yankees that helped honor Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
David Robertson pitched for the first time since September 5 after sitting out with elbow trouble. He faced three hits, retiring two and issuing a walk.
The Yankees conclude their regular season home schedule tonight with Joba Chamberlain going up against Robinson Tejeda.