Since it depresses me to no end, I'll just get the bad out of the way first. The 2013 Injury Bug took yet another Yankee today. Brett Gardner is heading to NY for an MRI on his oblique. He strained his oblique by, and I'm not making this up, checking his swing. This is potentially a season ending injury for Gardner, and it could not have come at a worse possible time. You can discuss this sad topic here, and we will keep you update with more information as soon as it is released.
Sigh. Onto the game.
The Yankees offense would score early against Wei-Yin Chen tonight. The first inning would only bring heartbreak and leaving RISP. The second inning would bring an Eduardo Nunez single and a Mark Reynolds HR to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. The third inning had a wonderful combination of an Alex Rodriguez walk, an Alfonso Soriano double, a Robertson Cano walk, and a Vernon Wells single to give the Yankees four runs on the night. Chen settled down for the moment, but the Top of the 7th would see Chen face his last batter as Curtis Granderson launched another shot onto Eutaw Street. That dinger would wind up to be bigger than we thought. More on that later.
Phil Hughes would start the game for the Yankees tonight. Finishing the game is another story. Hughes only pitched three innings, giving up three hits and one earned run while striking out three and walking no one. That line does not tell the whole story, as Hughes actually was pitching pretty decently. It was clear he had a short leash tonight, but that one earned run he gave up was partially due to Defensive Warlock Chris Stewart being unable to block the ball properly. Hughes was still getting outs. Efficient, non "and the count is now 3 and 2" outs no less. Nevertheless, an easily playable ball that was botched by Eduardo Nunez would be all Girardi would need to pull Hughes from the game.
David Huff would come in to replace Hughes. While his candidacy for Replacement Starter Hughes would falter, he would continue his downright stellar bullpen relief work for the Yankees. Huff would pitch three innings and only give up two hits. One of those hits would be a dinger to Nick Markakis of the Yankee hating Markakises (Markaki?) in the bottom of the 7th. Adam Warren and Cesar Cabral would finish off the 7th. David Robertson would come into pitch the 8th. I'll make this quick. D-Rob pitched pretty poorly. Alfonso Soriano would save him from a Manny Machado home run, but no one could save him from the game tying bomb launched by Danny Valencia of the Yankee hating... never mind. That would tie the game. Then came the 9th inning.
With every game being crucial in order for the Yankees to make the Wild Card, it seems fitting that this game would have a wild ending. Jim Johnson would come into pitch the 9th inning, as he has done for the Orioles since last year. This is not the same Johnson from last year though. Brendan Ryan would immediately single off of Johnson, which is not the norm for our new defensive genius. Our offensive defensive catcher would then attempt to bunt him over, which he could not even do correctly. He cannot strike out properly either, so sac bunting is a tall order I guess. Perhaps perplexed by why Stewart is still the Yankees starting catcher, Johnson would botch the throw to second base and everyone would be safe. Granderson, the same Grandyman who hit that bomb to Eutaw, would then sac bunt them over to second and third. Hilarious. With A-Rod at the plate, Johnson would throw a wild pitch which would score Ryan from 3rd. That would be the only run the Yankees would score that inning. It would be all they need.
Mariano Rivera came in to save the game. Save the game he did. No stress from Mo tonight. No save for Mo tonight either, as the official scorer gave him the win. A win and a bronzed broken bat plaque from the O's tonight. Sigh, only a couple Mo weeks left.
The Yankees will fly to Boston to play the Scruffy Beards tomorrow. And again, this must be pointed out. Chris Stewart struck out on two pitches tonight. Two. Play J.R. Murphy!