In the beginning of the ball game, the ump was a tad inconsistent with the strike zone depending on who was pitching, the New York Yankees or the Minnesota Twins.
In the bottom of the second, the Twins loaded the bases, but Andy allowed only one run on a sac fly to right field.
The Yankees had no answer for Carl Pavano the first time through the lineup- he threw first pitch strikes,
he hit the corners (they were very wide corners, but he hit them), and he worked quickly. I'd say he's worth a $40M investment.
In the top of the 4th, though, the rally chalupa worked its magic. Curtis Granderson drove a double off the wall in right, Tex took the next pitch to left and Granderson moved to third. Arod took the next pitch to right, and Granderson came in to tie the score. Robinson Cano was more patient- he waited until the second pitch before singling to right field. Unfortunately, Swisher grounded back to the mound, 1-6-3 double play. But the game was tied.
In the bottom of the 4th, Andy Pettitte did his best Mariano Rivera impression, and longtimelistener explained the value of pinstripes. Impressively, considering the way his game started, Andy finished the inning at an even 50 pitches.
Lance Berkman extended his arms on a fastball up and over the play in the 5th, and he drove it up and over the wall the opposite way, driving it out to left center. eric. reminded us all the #1 most important reason to pay federal taxes.
In the top of the 6th, the Yankees put runners on the corners. Cano popped out to shallow left and Granderson didn't try to score. For the second time, Swisher came to the plate with a chance to make a big impact on the game, and again he came up short, grounding out to short.
In the bottom of the 6th, a Twin finally got to Pettitte, when Pettitte threw 2 straight curveballs low and in to Orlando Hudson. The first one was a ball, just missing the strike zone. The second one was a blast to left field to tie the score. Delmon Young tripled to right, but Andy got Jim Thome to ground out weakly. Of course, dustyjacket13 doesn't let that distract him from proper pronoun agreement.
After a Jorge Posada walk, Lance Berkman decided to brawl Kerry Wood for the distinction of best midseason pickup since Bobby Abreu. He drove a low 2-2 pitch over the head of Span in CF to bounce a double off the wall. The fleet footed Posada did his Enos Slaughter impression and scored from first. Ron Gardenhire pulled a Bobby Cox and got himself tossed from the ball game for arguing with
useless sac of meat home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Brett Gardner bunted for a hit, and Berkman moved to third, bringing Derek Jeter to the plate with none out. Jeter gave Pavano a tough AB, then punched a dying quail into right field, driving in Berkman, moving GGBG to second, and forcing Carl Pavano out of the game.
In came Jose Mijares. Curtis Granderson (2 for 3 on the night, after a huge 2 run triple last night, runners on first and second) inexplicably decided to bunt, and only a mistake by the rookie first baseman made it a sac bunt advancing the runners rather than a lousy bunt and an out at third. So instead of facing Tex and Arod, Mijares walked Tex, then passed the ball to one time closer Jon Rauch, who promptly struck out Arod and got Cano to pop out.
Of course we can't know what Granderson would have done had he swung away- popped out, ground into a double play, homered? But with no outs, facing the first legit rally of the game unfolding around you, how do you decide, 'this is the time to give away an out'? And even better, let's take the bat out of the hands of the #3 hitter! How is that smart baseball?
Andy came back from the long layoff to strike out Michael Cuddyer on 3 pitches. Another 3 pitches and Jason Kubel popped out to Arod. 6 more pitches and Danny Valencia was called out looking. The entire Yankee Universe exhaled.
Matt Guerrier came into the top of the 8th throwing smoke to Swisher, Posada and Berkman.
Joe Girardi checked the Book, and even though Pettitte threw only 88 pitches through 7 innings of work. Thankfully, he went to one of the triumvirate. Although there are some who would have chosen Joba or D-Rob, Joe G. went to Kerry Wood. Wood fell behind JJ Hardy 1-0, then came back with a slider for a strike looking, another slider in the same spot swinging, and he finished him off with a knee buckling curve. He got Span to ground the ball weakly back to the mound, and then blew Orlando Hudson away on 3 fastballs: 94 mph, 95 mph, 95 mph. Joe Mauer was left standing on deck.
Gritty Gutty Brett Gardner (the platoon player, to those who know him well) led off with a single to left against Matt Capps. Jeter grounded a little excuse me dribbler to third, and Gardner advanced to second. With Granderson up, GGBG stole third and then scored on Grandy's humped back liner to center. Capps recovered and retired Tex and Arod, but the tack on was already complete.
In comes Mariano Rivera.
Joe Mauer led the inning off with a single, and already that extra run in the top of the 9th looked big. Mo is of course, never rattled. One custom built 6-4-3 later, and once again, Jim Thome is all that stands between the Yankees and a 2-0 lead in the ALDS. A ball inside. A called strike to nearly the same spot. And then another inside cutter, this one lifted by Thome softly to Gardner in left.
The Yankees win. The real fun starts in the Bronx on Saturday.
Comments of the Game: As linked above, Jeterian2, lololol, longtimelistener, eric., dustyjacket13, Edgware, and ScoobySnacks
Play of the Game: Lance Berkman's 7th inning RBI double increased the Yankees' chances of winning by 19.2%.