Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Posada's Pinch Is A Clinch

He's had a miserable season. Benched, pinch-hit for, his position taken away from; publicly humiliated, some of it caused by his own actions. But through it all Jorge Posada never gave up and Wednesday night he was rewarded. Posada snapped a 2-2 tie with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the 8th to give the Yankees a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays that enabled them to clinch the AL East.

Posada wasn't the only one dissed this season. The entire Yankees squad was dissed as it seemed 99% of the media picked the Boston Red Sox to win the division. But as Boston lost Wednesday night for the 14th time in 18 games, the Yankees knocked off the Rays for the third straight game, actually helping Boston out in the process. The Red Sox remained 2.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay in the wild card race, though the LA Angels are also back in the mix, just 2.5 back as well.

CC Sabathia hoped to earn his 20th win tonight and now will likely stay at 19 since his scheduled start on Monday will be a short one with Game 1 of the ALDS scheduled for Friday. Sabathia threw 127 pitches, but was pulled with one out in the top of the 8th after he walked Evan Longoria to load the bases. Sabathia got a no decision when David Robertson came on and induced an inning ending double play ball from Ben Zobrist.

With one out in the bottom of the 8th, pinch-hitter Nick Swisher hustled his way to a double when he dropped a fly in left-center field. Lefty Jake McGee retired Curtis Granderson on a shallow fly for the second out and then Rays manager Joe Maddon decided to mix and match. Right-hander Juan Cruz walked Mark Teixeira though and then after lefty Cesar Ramos couldn't get Robinson Cano to chase a pitch out of the zone, Maddon ordered an intentional walk to Cano to load the bases.

With righty Jesus Montero due up, Maddon went to the pen again for right-hander Brandon Gomes. That's when Girardi opted to pinch-hit Posada for the player who not that long ago seemed like a lock to play ahead of Posada in the post-season. Posada, who later admitted to Kim Jones that he thought it was the 9th inning, hit a rope to right to score pinch-runner Greg Golson and Teixeira to take the lead.

With Mariano Rivera unavailable after pitching in the day porition of the day-night twinbill, Rafael Soriano came on in the 9th for the save. He allowed a two out single to Casey Kotchman, but struck out Matt Joyce to end it.


After watching fellow rookie Ivan Nova toss a gem on Tuesday night, Rays rookie Jeremy Hellickson tossed a great game of his own. He limited the Yankees to just two runs and two hits over seven innings and lowered his ERA to 2.90.

The Yankees held a 2-1 lead on Robinson Cano's 27th home run and an a DP grounder by Jesus Montero that plated a run, but CC Sabathia allowed a solo home run to Sean Rodriguez in the 7th inning to tie the game.

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