Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pettitte Far From Perfect, but Yankees Rally Past O's Again

Andy Pettitte is not the pitcher we're using to seeing out there on the mound. More baseballs are in the air than on the ground, Pettitte's trademark for getting outs. On Saturday afternoon he hung tough and the Yankees offense bailed him out in a 5-4 Yankees win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Things didn't look good early for Pettitte, as has been the custom of late. Chris Davis, who used to not be able to hit a left-hander if  he were swinging an oak tree, deposited a first inning pitch over the center field wall for his 33rd home run and 2-0 O's lead. Alexi Casilla added an RBI double an inning later and the Yankees were in a quick 3-0 hole.

The Yankees bats, which had shown life in Minnesota, cut the lead to 3-2 in the home half of the 2nd inning against O's starter Chris Tillman. Recently acquired Luis Cruiz slapped a bases loaded single to get the Yankees on the board and fresh-off-the-DL Eduardo Nunez lifted a sac fly to left for the second run of the inning. The Yankees might have gotten more had Lyle Overbay not run them out of a bigger inning.

Overbay tagged up at second base on Nunez's fly and was easily thrown out trying to advance to third. Never mind the old cliche "You don't make the first or last out at third base.", you don't try to advance to third on a ball hit in front of you, especially when you have no speed.

Pettitte was tagged for another run in the 4th on a Taylor Teagarden RBI single, but finally retired the side in order for the first time in the 5th.  The Yankees took the opportunity to tie up the game in the bottom of the inning. Nunez and Chris Stewart stroked back to back singles and Brett Gardner followed with a sac bunt.

Ichiro Suzuki lashed a ball back up the middle that Casilla made a gorgeous stop on ranging to his right, but had no play on the speedy Ichiro as Nunez scored. Robinson Cano then sliced a pitch to left-center for a game tying single.

Pettitte stranded a runner in the 6th and left with two in the 7th after he struck out Nick Markakis looking with Casilla on second base. Shawn Kelley came on and stranded Casilla with a strikeout of Manny Machado. The Yankees meanwhile had taken the lead in the bottom of the 6th when Overbay singled, moved to second on Cruz's sac bunt, and scored on Nunez's single to center. Adam Jones made a strong throw home, but Overbay knocked over Teagarden as the the catcher couldn't corral the baseball.

David Robertson and Mariano Rivera finished things off for Pettitte's 251st career win, a total that tied him with Bob Gibson on the all time list. It was the lefty's first win since June 8 and his first start since he passed Whitey Ford as the Yankees all time strikeout leader.

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