Monday, October 5, 2009

Yankees Get Last Laugh on Rays

Yankees Pound Rays in Post-Season Prep

Written for Baseball Digest Online

The Yankees still don’t know who they will be playing in the American League Division Series, but they got their focus back on Sunday and pummeled the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2. To be more precise, Alex Rodriguez pummeled the Rays on Sunday.

A-Rod came into the game two home runs and seven RBI shy of a 30/100 season. All he needed was one inning to accomplish the feat for the 12th straight year. Trailing 2-0, the Yankees put two aboard in the 6th against rookie starter Wade Davis. That set the stage for Rodriguez to blast his 29th home run of the season for a 3-2 Yankees lead. But the Bronx Bombers weren’t done yet.

The Yankees loaded the bases against Davis and reliever Andy Sonnanstine, who appeared to get out of the inning when Jose Molina hit a potential double play tapper in front of the plate. But in his haste to throw home, Sonnanstine lost control of the baseball and everyone was safe. Two batters later Johnny Damon made him pay for the error with a 2-run double that extended the Yankees lead to 6-2. That’s when things really got interesting.

Mark Teixiera came to the plate tied with the Rays’ Carlos Pena for the AL lead in home runs. Pena’s season ended early when a CC Sabathia pitch broke three of his fingers. David Price threw at Teixeira Friday night in retaliation and manager Joe Maddon decided on Sunday that Teixeira would not lead the AL in home runs by himself, ordering an intentional walk (Teixeira did win the AL RBI crown).

Teixeira got the last laugh though as he watched from the dugout after being removed for a pinch-runner. Rodriguez blasted a Sonnanstine delivery over the n right-center field fence for a grand slam. One inning, two swings of the bat and just like that A-Rod reached the 30/100 milestone and also tied Mark McGwire for 8th place on the all-time major league home run list with 583 round-trippers. A-Rod also broke the AL record for RBI in an inning.

Game Notes

A.J. Burnett won his 13th game with a decent outing. He did cross up Jose Molina once, which resulted in a Rays’ run when the ball ricocheted off the inside of the catcher’s knee. There is still a lot of speculation that Molina will catch Burnett in theALDS.

The Yankees will now sit and watch Tuesday’s one game playoff between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins, both of whom won on Sunday. The Tigers will start rookie Rick Porcello, while the Twins counter with Scott Baker. With the best record, the Yankees had the option of starting the ALDS on Wednesday or Thursday, and opted for the former.

Joba Chamberlain worked a 1-2-3 inning on Sunday as he prepares to most likely work out of the pen in the post-season.

The Yankees 103 wins was the highest franchise total since the team also won 103 in 2002.

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