After dropping six of their last seven, the Yankees NEEDED this game. The game appeared to be a cake walk with the Yanks holding a 6-0 lead after 4 1/2 innings. However, the Rays answered with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-6 lead. The Yanks battled back in the sixth inning, knotting the score at 7 after a Robinson Cano RBI double. Curtis Granderson saved the game with a diving catch in the bottom of the ninth. Jorge Posada hit one of the furthest home runs I’ve ever seen at the Trop in the tenth inning and Greg Golson made one of the best plays of the season in the bottom of the frame, gunning the speedy Carl Crawford down at third base to end the game. The Yankees won the game, 7-6 and reclaim first place in the AL East.

Initial Reaction:

What. A. Throw. Greg Golson’s throw in the tenth inning was one of the best throws by a Yankee outfielder this year. He did not even get a running start on the throw. More impressively, Crawford is one of the fastest players in the game. Given the losing streak, the Yankees NEEDED this one, especially when the Yankees had an early 6-0 lead.

Let’s talk about Jorge’s home run. BOMB CITY. Posada’s tenth inning blast landed onto of the Trop’s restaurant? in center field. Definitely one of the furthest home runs I’ve seen there.

The Grandy Man? HE CAN! His catch is the bottom of the ninth against Ben Zobrist was huuggge. It definitely gave the Bombers the momentum.

Positives From The Game:

All of the above points: Golson was rated as a plus-arm in the minor leagues. He showed us why tonight.

Beating Up Garza: The Yanks absolutely worked over Tampa Bay starter, Matt Garza. Garza only lasted 4 2/3 innings, yielding six runs on nine hits.

Bombs in St. Pete: In addition to Posada, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez homered in the game.

Nova’s first four innings: Yankee starter, Ivan Nova held the Rays to one-hit over the first four innings. The wheels fell off in the fifth inning, but it’s a learning experience for the young righty.

Bullpen friends not named Boone: Joba Chamberlain, Kerry Wood, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera yielded only one hit over the final four innings. Good ol’ Boonie gave up a three-run jack to Willie Aybar in relief of Nova.

Negatives From The Game:

Blowing the lead sucked, but a win is a win. The Yankees showed a lot of heart today and needed this one.

Interesting Facts:

30: Out of his 14 years as the Yankees full-time closer, Mariano Rivera has posted 30 saves 13 times. Rivera only notched 28 saves in an injury-plagued 2002 campaign.

What’s Next?:

The Yankees and Rays will play the rubber game of this three-game set tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 7:10 PM, ESPN: Phil Hughes (16-7, 4.26 ERA) vs. James Shields (13-12, 4.98 ERA)

Last Start:
Hughes: Loss, six innings, six runs, five strikeouts (vs. TOR)
Shields: ND, five innings, five runs, four strikeouts (at TOR)

**Hughes is 0-1 against the Rays this year with a 4.50 ERA. He has been very good on the road, turning in a 6-3 record and 3.32 ERA.
**In four starts against the Yanks this year, Shields is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA, proving his nickname “Big Game James”.