David Murphy hit the game-winning walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth inning tonight against Mariano Rivera as the Rangers took Game 1 of this quick two-game set, 4-3. The Yankees currently hold a 1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay and a five-game lead on Boston in the AL East…

'Don't Reach'

Initial Reaction:

Before the game even started tonight, the Yankees knew they were in trouble with Marcus Thames hitting third and Austin Kearns protecting A-Rod. Due to the birth of his third child, Mark Teixeira did not make the trip to Texas. Robinson Cano has been dealing with a mysterious cold in August, so he didn’t start tonight.

AJ Burnett got the start tonight for the Bombers and only made one mistake. Burnett posted seven solid innings, giving way to only three Rangers runs on six hits. His only mistake came in the sixth inning against David Murphy. Murphy crushed a fastball over the right-center fence, giving the Rangers a 3-2 advantage. Burnett mixed in his change-up for the first time this year and kept the ball out of the zone, picking up at least four swings-and-misses.

Alex Rodriguez knotted the score at three in the top of the eighth with a solo blast. Relievers Boone Logan and David Robertson kept the Rangers off the board in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

The Rangers won the game in tenth inning against Mariano Rivera. Rivera, who entered the game in a non-save situation, gave way to consecutive Michael Young and Josh Hamilton singles before getting Vlad Guerrero to ground out. Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked, setting the stage for the aforementioned Murphy. Murphy’s patience paid off as he took three straight Rivera pitches out of the zone. Rivera battled back, but Murphy lined a 3-2 cutter over Robinson Cano’s head to win the game.

Typically, teams do not bring in their closers on the road in non-save situations. However, the Rangers had their three best hitters (Young, Hamilton, and Guerrero) coming to the plate. I agree with the move. Rivera has never been great in non-save situations, but if you’re gonna go down, go down with your best.

Positives From The Game:

Mostly Good AJ: AJ Burnett did not dominate tonight, but kept the Ranger bats at bay. He gave the team length, posting seven solid innings. He mixed in his change-up and this start is definitely something from him to build off of.

The Pen: Robertson and Logan have really stepped up lately. Robertson has not allowed a run in his last fourteen appearances.

A-Rod: On a night where the offensive threats were few, A-Rod’s eighth inning home run not only picked up the Yanks, but saved AJ Burnett from getting the loss.

Negatives From The Game:

Capitalizing On Errors: The Rangers made three errors tonight. The Yankees were only able to capitalize on one of them, CJ Wilson’s arrant pick-off throw in the fifth inning.

Bad Ump, Bad!: Very minuscule in the grand scheme of the game, but in the second inning, Lance Berkman was initially called safe on Jorge Cantu’s ‘missed’ tag at first base. After consulting with Rangers’ manager Ron Washington, the umpire overturned the call. He did not talk to the other umps before making the ruling. Terrible, terrible, terrible. It’s one thing to get the call right. It’s another to compromise the game. I’ve just never seen that before..

Gardy Is Slumping: Brett Gardner is now 2 for his last 28.

Interesting Facts:

601: A-Rod slugged his 601st home run tonight.

21 of 25: Boone Logan has retired 21 of his last 25 hitters.

What’s Next?: The Yanks will be back at it tomorrow night, facing off against lefty, Cliff Lee!

Wednesday, 8:05 PM, ESPN: Javier Vazquez (9-8, 4.63 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (10-5, 2.44 ERA)

Last Start:
Vazquez: Loss, 5 1/3 innings, three earned runs, five strikeouts (vs. Boston)
Lee: Win, eight innings, one earned run, eight strikeouts (at Oakland)