Monday, November 2, 2009

Damon's Heads Up Play Gets Y ankees One Step Away

The Yankees have a decision to make this winter concerning free agent to be Johnny Damon, whose four year contract is up after this season. Damon's skills in the outfield have decreased considerably, but he showed this season that he can still be offensive force. It was Damon's play at the plate and on the bases last night that helped put the Yankees one win away from their 27th World Championship.

The Yankees scored three runs in the 9th inning and beat the Philadelphia Philles 7-4 before a sold out, raucous Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies had gotten off the mat in the bottom of the 8th when Pedro Feliz hit a game tying solo home run off of Joba Chamberlain. But after Brad Lidge retired the first two Yankees in the 9th, Damon lined a single on the 10th hit of the at-bat.

With Mark Teixeira up, the Phillies employed their usual shift with third baseman Feliz positioned more like a shortstop. Damon took off for second, beating catcher Carlos Ruiz's throw. After a momentary hesitation, Damon broke off for the unoccupied third base and reached it uncontested.

The play was huge. With Damon on third, Lidge would be more reluctant to throw his slider in the dirt. Lidge, who appeared to have turned his regular season struggles around during the post-season, hit Teixeira. Alex Rodriguez then drilled a fat fastball off the left field wall to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Jorge Posada provided some insurance with a 2-run double and Mariano Rivera nailed down the save.

Damon's defense had come into question earlier in the game when he play Feliz's catchable ball on a hop and made a weak throw home as Ryan Howard scored to tie the game at two apiece.

In actuality, Howard never scored as he never touched home plate. It was just part of a bad night for home plate ump Mike Everitt who had a wandering plate all night.

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