Coming into today, the Yankees had scored just 13 runs in their last six games dating back to last Friday against the Red Sox. And, in all six of those games, they failed to score more than four runs. However, tonight, they exploded for five runs against the Giants, thanks to an Alex Rodriguez grand slam in the seventh inning to give the Yankees the win.
For the first six innings, Giants' starter Tim Lincecum dominated. He had allowed a total of four hits, one being an Alfonso Soriano solo homer in the second, and one walk. With the game tied at one in the home seventh, Eduardo Nunez reached on a seeing-eye single to right before Lincecum hit Brendan Ryan with a pitch and walked Ichiro Suzuki. At 121 pitches, Bruce Bochy pulled his starter in favor of former Yankee George Kontos to face A-Rod with two out. After getting ahead in the count 2-1, A-Rod deposited a fastball low and away into the right field seats for a record-breaking 24th career grand slam, passing Yankee legend Lou Gehrig, and giving the Yankees a 5-1 lead they would never relinquish.
Good CC Sabathia showed up tonight. He went the first seven and allowed one run on seven hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. The one run he surrendered came on a Juan Perez RBI double to plate Brandon Crawford in the third. CC had to pitch out of some jams in the first, third, and fourth, but he settled down in fifth, as he allowed just two of the final 11 batters he faced to reach. All in all it wasn't a spectacular outing, but definitely one you'd take for a team who, somehow, still has an ounce of hope left for the postseason.
After Sabathia allowed Tony Abreu to reach on a single to lead off the eighth, Girardi pulled his left-hander in favor of David Robertson, who ended up walking one and striking out one in the eighth. Mariano Rivera, who is pitching in his final set of home games in his career, pitched a nice and tidy eight-pitch ninth with a strikeout of Hunter Pence mixed in.
The win gives the Yankees their 81st of the season, meaning they are guaranteed of not finishing with a losing record. In case you're wondering, the last time they finished with a losing record was in 1992 when they went 76-86 that season.
Ivan Nova (3.36 ERA, 3.54 FIP) will look to get back on track against Ryan Vogelsong (5.73 ERA, 4.91 FIP) Saturday afternoon at 1 PM.