A.J. Burnett and Nick Blackburn, with a little help from some friends, pretty much made the first seven innings of this game moot. Yup, indeed, the story of this game centers around the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th innings. Check this out:
Top of the 8th inning: Phil Hughes, who has been so wonderful for the Yankees out of the pen this season, gets a quick two outs. But, he then allows a two-out walk to no-stick, hack-happy, Carlos Gomez – and before you know it, New York is losing 3-1 (and they’re six outs away from a loss).
Bottom of the 9th inning: Easily, hands-down, the single greatest moment for Alex Rodrguez in his six year career with the Yankees. Actually, after Teixeira singled and Joe Nathan fell behind Rodriguez, 2-0, I had a feeling it was coming. And, three pitches later, there it went. You know, Nathan is a really nice guy. But, against the Yankees, he pitches like he’s Armando Benitez throwing in an important game. See this game. And, this one. And, this one. And, this one. And, now, of course, we have the contest from this evening too. Anyone else seeing a pattern?
Top of the 10th inning: Alfredo Aceves tries to copy Phil Hughes and allows a 2-out walk that leads into a first-and-third situation with the score tied. But, he works out of it, getting the pesky Orlando Cabrera to fly out.
Bottom of the 10th inning: Brett Gardner has a “Dave Roberts” moment in the making and then gets doubled off third in an inning ending line-out-dee-pee. Game remains tied at three.
Top of the 11th inning: Joe Mauer, leading off, gets robbed of a double by a terribly blown call by the left field line umpire. But, the Twins manage to load the bases with no outs – and they don’t score! Yanks get lucky here when Delmon Young launches a liner right at Teixeira for the first out of the inning and then Carlos Gomez takes a weak swing at the first pitch for a force-out at the plate.
Bottom of the 11th inning: Teixeira gets his first walk-off pie of the season after he hits a laser for a 319 foot homer to win the game.
Now, the Twins season sits, somewhat, in the hands of Carl Pavano. Boy, I wish they were playing tomorrow – instead of having to wait until Sunday for that one.
Even if Minnesota manages to beat the Yankees and Andy Pettitte on Sunday, the Yankees will have CC Sabathia on the hill next Monday. And, you really have to like the Yankees chance to win that game – even if the Twins are throwing Scott Baker.
I have tickets for Game 5 of this ALDS. At this point, they’re going to make some fancy book marks – because this ALDS is going to be over before that game. Give the Twins credit…they kept taking punches in this one and hanging in – but, they did not get the job done with runners on base. This was only the third time in big league history that a team had 21+ runners reach base in a game and they scored 3 runs or less. Ouch.