Chien-Ming Wang pitched another solid game last night, greatly helped by two double plays, as the Bombers beat the Tigers, 4-2. Wang doesn’t mince around. He works quickly, and puts the ball in play. He left the game with runners on first and third and one out, up by three, in the seventh inning. Mike Stanton relieved him and promptly gave up a single. Runners on first and second and in comes Taynon Sturtze.
Marcus Thames blooped a humpback fly ball to short center field. Bernie Williams came in but there was no way he was going to catch up to it. Robinson Cano got a good jump and arrived under the ball first. But he didn’t notice Derek Jeter, in full-on John Stallworth post-pattern, Super Bowl XIV mode. Jeter, with his back to the plate, stretched out his glove, made the catch, and fell on top of Cano. For his part, Cano looked like a free safety that spotted an errant pass. He drifted over to the ball thinking he was going to make an easy interception. But Jeter was John Stallworth, and he forcefully snatched the ball from him, at the last minute. (Bernie looked on like any good referee would.) Just as impressive as the catch, was how quickly Jeter got to his feet and returned the ball to the infield. Jeter’s spikes caught Cano, but the young second baseman appeared more startled than hurt. Add it to Jeter’s highlight reel.
Sturtze got the last out of the inning, Flash Gordon–pitching much better of late–struck out two in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera threw twenty-three pitches (walking one) in a scoreless ninth. Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada drove in the Bombers’ four runs, and it was enough for another series victory. The Yanks go for the sweep tonight against the Tigers’ best pitcher. Kevin Brown will pitch for the home team. Which is a good thing considering that the Red Sox are up next.