|"I blame that guy in the upper deck."|
The right-hander saved a career high 48 games in 50 chances, allowed just five earned runs in 74.2 innings pitched (0.60 ERA), and had a 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Where did this guy come from? Any fan of the Detroit Tigers or Los Angeles Angels had to ask that question. Where was the guy inconsistent guy who couldn't hold on to his closer job? The guy that was an inconsistent set up man; the guy with 37 career blown saves.
Guess what? He's ba-aaaack. Rodney blew his fifth save opportunity in 14 attempts Saturday when the Yankees rallied from two down in the 9th inning to tie the game at three apiece. Lyle Overbay won it for the Yankees, who have taken the first two games of the three game series, with a home run off Josh Lueke.
But the Yankees would not have gotten there if not for Rodney's contribution. Down 3-1, despite another solid effort by starter Vidal Nuno (6 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 2 K), the Yankees were down to their final out when Rodney walked Overbay. After Overbay took second base on fielder's indifference, Brennan Boesch, recalled due to the injury to Curtis Granderson, laced a ball into left field that plated Overbay.
Brett Gardner got ahead in the count 3-1 before he drove a ball back to shallow center for an RBI single that tied the game. The rally went no further when Gardner was thrown out as he tried to steal second. A poor choice by Gardner with Robinson Cano at the plate.
The game nearly came to an end in the bottom of the 10th when Ivan Nova made his first relief appearance since he was activated from the disabled list. The Rays loaded the bases with one out, but Nova struck out James Loney and retired Matt Joyce on a ground out. Then it was Overbay time, or should I say Overtampabay time.
Overbay hit nine home runs in 440 plate appearances in 2011; his game winner on Saturday was his eighth home run in 172 PAs. Overbay has continued to come through in the clutch after it appeared his career might be over after the 2012 season. The Diamondbacks released him last August and Atlanta picked him up for the last month of the 2012 season. Overbay signed with the Boston Red Sox in January, but was released in late March and was quickly picked up the Yankees. The Red Sox loss was the Yankees gain as Overbay has been one of the early season surprises.
The Yankees had lost 13 of 16 at the Trop before winning back-to-back games. The Yankees were fortunate that Matt Moore surpassed the 100 pitch mark early and left after six innings. He remains unbeaten this season at 8-0.
Nuno had allowed just one run when he left, but Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan combined to allowed an inherited runner to score in the Rays two-run 7th inning.
Mariano Rivera recorded his 18th straight save chance.