Continuing our series of posts highlighting the top Yankee games of the 2011 campaign, let's take a look at the next three in the countdown.
12. June 16 - Yankees 3, Rangers 2: Girardi, Cashman and co. caught lightning in a bottle numerous times in 2011. June 16 was a prime example of that.
On the heels of Bartolo Colon taking a trip to the disabled list, inexperienced Brian Gordon was called upon to briefly fill some big shoes. In his first ever major league start, Gordon delivered a satisfactory performance and kept the Yankees in the game by tossing 5.1 innings of two run ball.
Perhaps the more impressive feat of this game was the bullpen's ability to flex their collective muscles. Hector Noesi, David Robertson, Mariano Rivera and Cory Wade combined for 6.2 innings of nearly perfect relief pitching: two hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
Tied 2-2 headed into the bottom of the 12th inning, Curtis Granderson's leadoff single and Robinson Cano's one-out HBP set the table for the dramatics. Brett Gardner, 17 for his previous 36 with a .537 OBP in that stretch, slapped a single between Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler that scored Granderson and won the game in walk-off fashion.
After the jump, a pair of absolutely dominating pitching performances. Care to guess which they were? One might surprise you.
11. June 20 - Ivan "Super" Nova dazzles: Up until this point in the season, Nova hadn't shown the Yankees exactly what he was capable of. He sparkled in a start against the Texas Rangers on May 6 in Arlington, but mixed quality starts with not-so-great ones around that.
Under the lights in Cincinnati, Nova shined brighter than ever. In his strongest start of the regular season, Nova held the Reds to four hits in 8.0 innings while walking none and striking out seven. Cincy didn't score a single run off him.
What's most impressive is that Nova surrendered back-to-back singles to the first two batters of the game and hunkered down afterwards. His low-90s sinker and nasty curveball down in the zone forced 14 groundouts, seven strikeouts and three lineouts.
Despite Nova's brilliant eight shutout innings, the bullpen allowed three runs in the ninth to make this game closer than it needed to be (Final score was 5-3 Yankees). For example, Boone Logan's sole contribution to the game was plunking Brandon Phillips with one pitch. Simply astounding.
10. May 30 - Bartolo Colon dominates, leads Yankees to 5-0 victory: In a season that had more questions than it did answers surrounding the pitching staff, one man's unfathomable resurgence gave Yankee fans reason to rejoice.
Colon's complete game shutout of the Oakland A's on Memorial Day was beautiful. Needing only 103 pitches to rock Oakland to sleep, he allowed only four hits and walked zero batters. His performance upstaged Sabathia's eight inning gem the day before against the Seattle Mariners and his fastball movement left the A's scratching their heads all game long.
Granted, the A's aren't the best hitting team out there, but Colon was at the top of his game.
Brandon C will have the #9, #8 and #7 on Monday. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.
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