The New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 via a walk-off hit from the All-Star, Nick Swisher. Swisher led the offense with a solo home run to tie the game in the eighth and a walk-off single to score Curtis Granderson in the ninth. Tonight, my friends, pie is on the menu.
It was their first game after the All-Star break, and the first game played at home since the recent deaths of P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard and owner George Steinbrenner. With the win, the Yankees move to 57-32 on the season and increase their lead in the AL East over the Rays to three games.
Although CC Sabathia wasn’t his dominant self tonight, he still gave the Yankees an opportunity to win by keeping the game close in situations where it could have really gotten out of hand. For example, in the fifth inning, the Rays had the bases loaded with slugger Evan Longoria at the plate. He forced a double play which allowed one run to score, but that was it in the inning.
The Yankee bullpen did their part in the eighth and ninth inning. Dave Robertson pitched a lights-out eighth, while Mariano Rivera kept the game tied going into the bottom of the ninth for the man of the night, Nick Swisher. Mariano ended up picking up the win, his third of the season.
Positives From The Game:
Picked Off: B.J. Upton is someone you don’t necessarily want on first base with no outs in the ninth inning. Already with 25 steals on 31 attempts this season, he was a sure-fire bet to try to take second off of Mo and Jorge. However, Rivera caught him leaning and picked him off at first.
The All-Star: Nick Swisher must have heard the talking heads who said he shouldn’t be on the All-Star team or that he was one of the top five most over-rated players in the Majors. He silenced critics by going 3-5 with a home run and three RBIs, including the game winner in the bottom of the ninth.
Negatives From The Game:
A Ball, and a Bat: In the ninth, Alex Rodriguez was caught between a ball, a bat, and a hard place. B.J. Upton forced a looping line drive right at the third baseman, which should have been an easy out. However, Mariano broke Upton’s bat in half and the bat came following literally right behind the ball, which broke Alex’s concentration and allowed B.J. to reach first. By no means am I blaming A-Rod, but it could have been a really tough break for the Yanks.
YES: Although the game was on my9, there was a George Steinbrenner tribute shown on the YES Network. Hopefully, that will be available online so I can post it on the site. Very cool.
No PA: Tonight’s game was done without a P.A. announcer in honor of the late Bob Sheppard.
9: This is the ninth straight game that the Yankees have won in which CC Sabathia was the starting pitcher.
3: This was the Yankees’ third walk-off hit of the year. They’re well behind their pace from 15 last year, but that can be mostly attributed to winning games by more than one run.
The Yankees will look to take down the Rays in game two of their series. The game will start at 4:05 PM and can be viewed on the YES Network.
Jeff Niemann (7-2, 2.77 ERA ) vs. AJ Burnett (7-7, 4.75 ERA)