Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bullpen, Ibanez Save The Junk Man

Anyone that ever watched the classic TV series Sanford & Son knows that lead character, and junk man, Fred Sanford (as portrayed by Redd Foxx) would introduce himself with the middle initial G. He would then say what the 'G' stood for and it would always depend on the situation. For example, it stood for 'Grammy' when Sanford met blues legend B.B. King.

If Fred were in Baltimore last night he would have said it stood for Garcia. Freddy Antonio Garcia wild pitched his junk into a 4-0 hole for the Yankees. But the Yankees pen, led by Cory Wade and David Phelps (2.1 scoreless innings each), held Baltimore in check and the Yankees rallied for a 5-4 victory in 12 innings.

Robinson Cano led off the 12th with a double, but stood at third base with two outs after both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira failed with runners in scoring position (the Yankees were 2-16 on the night with RISP). Newbie Raul Ibanez saved the day though,
when his gapper to right-center one hopped over the fence for a ground rule double and a game winning RBI. Mariano Rivera tossed a scoreless bottom of the 12th for his first save of the season.

Garcia was nothing short of awful...he tossed five wild and walked three in his first start of the regular season. Handed a 1-0, 1st inning lead on a Derek Jeter home run, Sanford, er Garcia, was fortunate the Orioles were as miserable with runners in scoring position as the Yankees were. J.J. Hardy tied the game with a solo home run in the home half of the 1st and the Orioles put another run on the board when a pair of Garcia wild pitches allowed Nick Markakis to come around from second base with the go ahead run.

The O's increased their lead in the 4th when another wild pitched moved Adam Jones to third and enabled him to score on Nick Johnson's ground out. Garcia's final errant toss allowed Robert Andino to score the O's final run in the 5th inning. Garcia got off the hook when the Yankees rallied in the 6th against Orioles rookie starter Wei-Yin Chen. The Taiwanese native pitched the last seven seasons in Japan and is still just 26 years old. He kept the Yankees at bay through five innings before they finally caught up to the left-hander in the 6th.

Singles by Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, and a walk to Curtis Granderson loaded the bases with just one out. Andruw Jones' sac fly brought home one run and another scored when Mark Reynolds muffed Russell Martin's grounder to third. Brett Gardner's RBI single tied the game and ended Chen's MLB debut. It then came down to a battle of attrition with the both
bullpens stifling any rallies.

Phelps was marvelous in just his second big league appearance. Four of the seven outs he recorded were by strikeout and the right-hander retired all seven men he faced. In fact, the Yankees pen allowed just five base runners over the final 7.1 innings, capped by Wade's clutch performance. The second year Yankee continued to impress and matchEd Phelps' output of four K's in 2.1 innings. he gave way to Clay Rapada with one out in the 11, which enabled Rapada to earn his first Yankees' win.


Derek Jeter's home run in the 1st inning allowed him to reach base safely in five straight at-bats. He went 4-4 in the first game of the series and added a sacrifice bunt as well. The Captain is 13 hits behind Dave Winfield for 19th on the all-time list.

Raul Ibanez not only has 6 RBI, but stole second base Tuesday night. He's halfway to his total of two that he stole last season with the Phillies.

CC Sabathia faces Jake Arrieta in the series finale on Wednesday.

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