Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cano Pulls Up The Sox

It has to be painful for Boston Red Sox fans right now. Not only has their team been in a tremendous slump for weeks, but now they have to root for the Yankees as well. And so far, the Yankees have done right by their rivals to the north. Robinson Cano delivered the game winning 2-run double this afternoon as the Yankees rallied late to top the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in the first of a day-night doubleheader. The win assured the Yankees of a post-season appearance for the 16th time in 17 years.

The victory came on the heels of last night's excellent performance by Ivan Nova (16-4) in a 5-0 white washing of the Rays and dropped Tampa Bay 2.5 games behind Boston in the AL Wild Card. The Yankees,can thank their bullpen for giving them a chance to win this afternoon.

Starter Phil Hughes was scratched due to back spasms and was replaced by Hector Noesi. The rookie last just two plus innings and allowed a 2-run home run to fellow newbie Desmond Jennings to put the Yankees in a 2-1 hole. But as Rays starter James Shields was putting up goose eggs on the scoreboard, the Yankees pen was matching him. Raul Valdes, George Kontos, Aaron Laffey, Cory Wade, Boone Logan, Luis Ayala (2-2), and Mariano Rivera scattered five hits and one walk over the final 6.1 innings.

Meanwhile Shields dominated a Yankees lineup that had no Curtis Granderson or Mark Teixeira in it. Held to just four hits through seven innings, New York tied it up when Eduardo Nunez led off the 8th with his 5th home run of the season. When Brett Gardner followed with a single and Derek Jeter walked, Rays manager Joe Maddon went to lefty J.P. Howell to face Cano. But Cano, who entered the game hitting .318 against southpaws, smashed a pitch to the base of the wall in center to score both runners. Mariano Rivera then picked up save #603 with a 1-2-3 9th inning.

- - -

Getting back to Nova's game last night. No other Yankees starter, besides CC Sabathia, would have been given the opportunity to escape the 7th inning, bases loaded no out jam in last night's ball game. It showed the tremendous trust that manager Joe Girardi has in his rookie starter. Nova retired Desmond Jennings on a fly to shallow left-center and got B.J. Upton to hit into an inning ending double play.

Nova, who leads all rookies in wins, has won his last 12 decisions. He's the 5th Yankees pitcher to go 12-0 over a 15 game span, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The others are Whitey Ford, Lefty Gomez, Ron Guidry, and Roger Clemens.

The Yankees stranded 18 runners on Tuesday night; the most since they left 20 on base in 1956.

No comments:

Post a Comment