Avoiding the fifth rainout between the two teams this season, the Yankees and Orioles sat through a four hour and three minute rain delay to play what should have been four and a half innings of wet baseball. In the end, the Yankees topped the Orioles yet again and are now 13-3 against the birds from Baltimore in 2011. The Yankees are now 87-53 and continue to hold a three game lead in the loss column over the Boston Red Sox (85-56).
On the heels of a two home run day for Jesus Montero, Jorge Posada provided a spark of his own in the third inning. With one out, Posada smashed his thirteenth homer of the season to put the Yankees up 1-0.
Phil Hughes didn't have his best stuff, but was good enough. His velocity was down on his fastball and curveball, but that's to be expected in the driving rain. He relied heavily on his fastball (72 of his 100 pitches) and I don't blame him for it tonight. His curveball looked sharp and his only mistake was a fastball chest high to Matt Wieters that sailed over the right field fence in the top of the sixth inning. Hughes' final line: 6.0 innings, five hits, two runs, one walk and five strikeouts.
Following past the jump may transport you into a bizarre universe. Beware.
Commence oddities. After finishing four and a half innings of baseball, there was zero doubt in my mind that these two teams would play on. The rain was coming down in buckets, there's no sense in risking injuries, and these guys had to play in another 12.5 hours. However, the grounds crew sent out the bags of sand to absorb the rain and pad the plate and infield with some traction. Umpires seemed to ask Buck Showalter for his opinion and I doubt he suggested ending the game. Ultimately, the final decision is up to the umpires and they chose to have the Yanks and O's play further.
With two outs in the fifth, Posada hit a hard grounder to Mark Reynolds at first base. Reynolds mishandled the ball and Posada reached base. Cervelli proceeded to hit a high fly ball to left field that was terribly misplayed by Matt Angle. Posada chugged around third and practically hydroplaned home to extend New York's lead to 2-0.
As I mentioned earlier, Wieters' homer came in the top of the sixth to tie the game 2-2.
After Derek Jeter's leadoff single and Curtis Granderson's walk in the sixth, Mark Teixeira crushed a line drive off the right field wall that allowed Jeter to score and New York to regain the lead 3-2.
Hector Noesi was called upon in the seventh in relief of Hughes and allowed a single while retiring a batter on a sacrifice bunt and a strike out. Enter Boone Logan. The trusty southpaw served up a tremendous double to deep right-center field to once again even the score, this time 3-3. Corey Wade would retire Adam Jones to end the threat.
We all know Posada has his fair share of blunders on the base paths. After reaching on an errant throw over Reynolds' head, Posada turned slightly toward second but decided against going. That turn was enough to deem him fair game and he was promptly picked off base.
Francisco Cervelli smacked a long fly ball to left field that hit off the hands of a fan attempting to catch the ball. The umpires ruled it a home run and, after review of instant replay, maintained their decision. The camera angles were a bit tough to tell whether or not the fans interfered with the ball, but I initially believed it was a home run. Cervelli has hit three home runs in his last four games. That's more than the total amount of home runs he's hit in the previous 175 games he's played in (two).
For good measure, in the ensuing at-bat, Brett Gardner turned loose on a 3-0 count and clobbered a solo shot of his own to right field. It's the first time, and likely the last, that Cervelli and Gardner will ever go back-to-back.
Mariano Rivera easily retired the Orioles in the ninth inning, recording his 598th career save. He inches closer to Trevor Hoffman's record of 601 saves.
The Yankees are now 6-0 in September and since Jesus Montero joined the roster. A common misconception is that these games matter much more than those in April. Regardless, I'm not complaining.
Comment of the game: WhatwouldJeterdo recapped this game in seven words.
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