The moment Josh Hamilton hit his two-run homer into the RF corner, I knew this game was over. Yes, it was only the first inning. Yes, I had confidence than Andy Pettitte would hold the Rangers down the rest of the way. Those things never concerned me. What concerned me was knowing that the Yankee offense — inconsistent as it’s been through 167 games thus far — was facing the best pitcher in the American League.
Sure enough, Cliff Lee (8 2 0 0 1 13) was utterly dominant last night and the Rangers made the 2-0 first inning lead stand. Six tack-on runs in the ninth inning made this game a laugher but, by then, the game had already been decided. In a masterful performance — one that might be his last game at Yankee Stadium — Andy Pettitte (7 5 2 2 0 5) showed us once again why he’s been such a special pitcher for the Yankees ballclub.
Listening to the fans chanting “An-dy Pett-itte” in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings brought back memories of the “Paul O’Neill” chants in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series, when fans knew O’Neill would retire at season’s end. It’s a sobering thought, knowing that such a dependable and vital part of the team may be wrapping up a very good career. If it was truly the end for Andy at Yankee Stadium, I’m only sorry the team couldn’t send him out with his 19th playoff win.
There’s not much more to say at this point. Either AJ Burnett and the offense do their jobs tonight or they don’t. The Yankees chances for winning this series are minimal at this point but miracles can happen from time to time. Perhaps tonight is the night for the first of a few more miracles for the 2010 Yanks.