It was ugly…
When you have a game where the Yankees give up a total of 9 runs, it is surprising that the pitchers included CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera. But that’s what happened in a disappointing Saturday game against the Tampa Bay Rays that saw the Yanks fall, 9-7.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
The Yankees had rallied from two runs down to tie the score at 5 in the 8th inning. CC Sabathia pitched 8 innings, but a homer by Ben Zobrist in the 5th inning and a three-run shot in the 6th by Willy Aybar had allowed the Rays to take a 5-3 lead.
In the Yankees’ 8th, Mark Teixeira greeted reliever Grant Balfour with a leadoff homer to pull the Yanks within one. The Yanks added another run when Melky Cabrera hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, scoring Jorge Posada.
The stage was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback and walk-off win, but it was not meant to be.
The usually reliable Mariano Rivera came out to open the 9th inning. Ben Zobrist immediately hit a triple. The next batter, Joe Dillon, singled to left single to score Zobrist with the go-ahead run. The next two outs, a grounder and a fly out, advanced Dillon to third. In a move that backfired and one that Rivera openly disagreed with, manager Joe Girardi called for Evan Longoria to be intentionally walked. With Andy Sonnanstine running for Longoria, B.J. Upton followed with a single to score Dillon and advanced Sonnanstine to second. In a rare occurrence, Rivera was pulled and Phil Coke was brought in to face Carl Crawford. Crawford singled to left to score Sonnanstine, and Upton moved to third. An error by Alex Rodriguez allowed Willy Aybar to reach first base, scoring Upton. Crawford was thrown out attempting to steal third to finally end the horrific inning.
I do think it was inappropriate for Girardi to call for an intentional walk with Mo on the mound. When you have your closer on the hill, I feel strongly that it should be an all or nothing proposition. Mo wanted to pitch to Longoria, and he should have been allowed to. Who knows, perhaps Longoria would have belted a homer, but we were never given the opportunity to find out. Mo deserves better, and hopefully, he’ll be back to his usual stellar self before the current series concludes.
The Yankees attempted to rally in the 9th. Derek Jeter singled, and Johnny Damon doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Mark Teixeira followed with a two-run double to bring the Yankees within two. However, Tex was stranded at second as the next three Yankee batters were retired to end the game. Former Yankee Randy Choate even picked up the save, his third of the season.
Tampa’s pitching phenom, David Price, pitched a good game. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on two hits (only one run was earned), walking 5 and striking out 3.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 561st career home run, leaving him two shy of Reggie Jackson for 11th place on the all-time list.
The Yankees remain winless at Yankee Stadium against their two key AL East Rivals, the Rays and the Boston Red Sox. The Rays have won 3 games at the Stadium this year, and have a 4-2 mark overall for the season series.
I know that my friend, Kelly, is probably doing the Happy Dance in Tampa. Thankfully, I haven’t heard from her yet but I know it’s coming if the games continue like this…
The loss, combined with the Red Sox win, dropped the Yankees out of first place. They are now a ½ game behind Boston. Boston beat the Texas Rangers 8-1 behind a tremendous pitching performance by Jon Lester. I do have to tip my cap to Lester…he was masterful. He had a perfect game through 6 1/3 innings. He finished with a complete game, and allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11.
Globe Staff Photo/Barry Chin
The game also included a David Ortiz home run, so I guess it was a perfect night for Julia…
Matthew Healey/Boston Herald
It was a tough day, but in the words of the Governor, I’ll be back!