Considering the starting time (9:40 EST) and the game length (4:07), the contest between the Yankees and the Diamondbacks was a real snoozer. However, the Yankee fans who managed to stay up to catch the tenth inning caught a real treat, seeing a go-ahead home run and a vintage Mariano Rivera performance. In the rubber game of a three-game set, the New York Yankees squeezed by the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 6-5. Mo picked up the win for the Yanks as they move to 45-27 on the season.
There’s really not much you can say about the first 2.1 innings for Arizona Diamondback starter Dontrelle Willis. He simply cannot pitch anymore. In 2.1 innings, he gave up one hit and one earned run while walking seven. He needs to completely reinvent himself if he wants to pitch at the Major League level. However, he somehow was not the losing pitcher when he left the game. The Yankees made multiple base running mistakes (see below) and Robinson Cano grounded into a double play to score only one run where the first four batters all reached base.
Javier Vazquez had a rocky first inning (see below, again), but worked his way out of his own mess. He did however give up four earned runs in five innings. The Yanks did manage to get back in the game to tie it up at four before DaMaso Marte gave up a run on some bad pitching. Fast-forward to the ninth, and the Yankees managed to tie it up. Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher walked, got moved over by Mark Teixeira, and scored via an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly.
Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to send the game into extras, where Curtis Granderson quickly gave the Yankees a one-run lead (see below). Because of a double-switch, Mo took Nick Swisher’s spot in the lineup and got an at-bat, but he grounded out weakly to first. Still, it was fun to watch.
Rivera took the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and promptly allowed his first two base-runners in 26 batters with a single to Stephen Drew and a double to Justin Upton. After an intentional walk to Miguel Montero, center fielder Chris Young popped up foul behind home plate for the first out. Next was Adam LaRoche, who had all five Diamondback RBIs to that point in the game. However, Mo got him to pop into an infield fly that was caught by Alex Rodriguez. The game’s final batter was Mark Reynolds, who struck out swinging on a classic Mariano cutter. It was Mariano’s first two-inning outing this year, and he was as impressive as he could have been.
Positives From The Game:
Walk Hard: The Yankees walked 13 times tonight. More run production off of that would have been nice, but it was nice to see the lineup not swinging at junk.
In the top of the tenth, Curtis Granderson hit a bomb off of Carlos Rosa to give the Bronx Bombers a 6-5 lead. It was the one real offensive highlight of the night for the Yankees.
Negatives From The Game:
Top of the First: In the first inning, Dontrelle Willis gave up a walk, a single, a walk, and then another walk. He also threw two wild pitches, one behind A-Rod. However, he only gave up one run. How? Nick Swisher got picked off on a 3-2 count when Willis couldn’t find the strike zone with a GPS. Then, Robinson Cano struck out and Mark Teixeira got thrown out trying to steal third. Third base Mark? I don’t care how goofy Dontrelle’s windup is, you cannot steal third. Simply summed up by columnist Matt Vereb via text message, it “may have been the worst half inning I have ever seen.”
Robinson Cano hit into two double plays, one of which was an amazing diving catch by Geraldo Parra. He went completely airborn and made the catch going backwards. The runners paid no attention to the ball and A-Rod was doubled up going back to first.
In the 1st: In the first inning, Dontrelle Willis threw 27 pitches for 8 strikes. Javier Vazquez didn’t do much better, throwing 29 pitches for 12 strikes. This inning featured five walks and three rundowns. As Michael Kay put it, it was “not an inning for the time capsule.”
10:04 PM: First Tom Emanski reference of the season.
The other four AL East teams all lost tonight for the second day in a row. The Yankees managing to win despite playing such a fundamentally poor game will pay dividends down the road.
“We won this game, but we played horrible,” Mariano Rivera in post-game. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
The Yankees have an off day to travel to Los Angeles where they will take on the Dodgers in a three-game series. Hopefully, on tomorrow’s off-day, there will be more to talk about than Joe Torre.
Vicente Padilla (1-1, 6.67 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.68 ERA)