clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

1998 Yankees Diary, July 14: Triples makes it safe, triples is best

The bats throw up a seven-spot while Pettitte goes all nine innings.


After a foreign-feeling loss to open up a two-game set in Cleveland, the Yankees entered the finale looking to rebound from the rare slip-up. Andy Pettitte was given the ball as they tried to right the ship, and he was the guy for the job, coming off of two straight starts with at least eight innings and two or less earned runs. Not to be a spoiler, but the trend would continue, and the lineup would snap back into action after a forgettable night.

July 14: Yankees 7, Cleveland 1 (Box Score)

Record: 66-21, .759 (Up 15.0)

Pettitte would face off with Dave Burba, a 31-year-old innings-eater, who was fresh off of 7.2 scoreless innings against the Twins. His Cleveland teammates got right to supporting him in the first inning. They loaded the bases on Omar Vizquel and Manny Ramirez singles, and a Jim Thome hit-by-pitch, and pushed their first run across on a Travis Fryman sac fly.

The Yanks wouldn’t let it go unanswered, however. After Chad Curtis worked a two-out walk, rookie Ricky Ledee belted the first triple of his career to right field to square things away at one. After Pettitte eased through a 1-2-3 second inning, the Bombers broke the brief tie in the third. With runners on first and third, Tino Martinez rolled a single up the middle that would score Joe Girardi, and give the Yanks a lead they would hold on to tightly.

After that spotty first inning, Pettitte quickly found his groove. In the third and fourth, the lefty retired all six Cleveland batters in order, and in rather efficient fashion. As the Bombers tried to add to their slim lead in the sixth, Martinez led things off with a double into left-center. He was followed by Darryl Strawberry, who would slash a ball into left, just below the diving glove of Mark Whiten. With the ball trickling to the wall unattended, Tino scored easily, and the not-so-fleet-footed Strawberry walked into second base.

Now up 2-1, they’d add another in the top of the seventh, as Chuck Knoblauch took a 3-1 hanger up and over the big left field wall for his sixth homer of the season. It put New York up 4-1, and after a clean rest of the seventh, ended the night for an openly frustrated Burba. He would finish with a manageable four runs on seven hits over those seven innings, but it ultimately wouldn’t be enough.

Cleveland called on Eric Plunk (who, sadly, would plunk nary a batter) in the eighth, and the Yankee lineup would continue to tally insurance runs. Curtis walked, and promptly stole second and third. His running would go rewarded, as Scott Brosius knocked him in with a single. Girardi was up next, and he would hit the Yankees’ second triple of the game to push Brosius across, and extend the lead to five.

Not afraid to hop on a trend, Derek Jeter led off the ninth inning with yet another triple, and as we know, triples makes it safe, triples is best. He was quickly pushed across on a single from fellow all-star Paul O’Neill to right. It would move the scoreboard to 7-1 Yankees, and there it would stay.

All the while, Andy Pettitte was avoiding hard contact on the bump, and was rolling through the dangerous Cleveland lineup. He allowed a baserunner in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh, but went unscathed in the process. He was spotless in the eighth, and was entrusted to finish what he started for the ninth. He would do so with little issue, and cap off his complete game.

Pettitte would finish with the rare no-strikeout complete game, but it all counts the same, as he allowed just the one run on six hits and a pair of walks. It pushed his record to 12-5, and restored New York’s division lead to 15, the highest it had been all season. After a loss, Pettitte and the Yanks gained back a smooth one to split the series in Cleveland.