Well, I guess we Yankee fans just need to reside ourselves to the fact that each and every game from here on out is going to be dramatic in one way or another. The Bombers seem incapable of playing anything but a one-run contest these days–last night was their sixth in the last seven games as they beat the Orioles 7-6 on a cool and breezy night in the Bronx. But right now the bottom line, more than ever, is the the bottom line: winning. And no matter how uncomfortable or ugly it might be to watch, the Yanks have been winning, not losing and that makes all the difference in the world doesn’t it?
In spite of some poor fielding (Jeter, Lawton, Tino) Mike Mussina was terrific in his return allowing no earned runs over six (the one defensive gem came from Alex Rodriguez when he robbed Bernie Castro of a hit). Bruce Chen befuddled the Yankee hitters in the begining of the game–inexplicably throwing what appears to be an average fastball past them time and again. But they eventually caught up to him, led by two long home runs off the bat of Jorge Posada (the second of which, a three-run job, reached the left field upper deck).
Al Leiter relieved Mussina and worked a perfect seventh, but then could not throw a strike in the eighth and allowed the Orioles to get back in the game. Leiter didn’t record an out (two walks, a single and a double) and before Taynon Sturtze got threw the inning, a six-run lead was now down to two. Mariano Rivera had pitched in the previous three games and was not available so Flash Gordon came on to pitch the ninth. With one out, the speedy Castro chopped a slow ground ball to first. Martinez fielded the ball but there was no way he was going to get to the bag in time. But Gordon got a great jump off the mound, covered first and barely beating Castro for the second out. The play–which could have only probably been made by Rivera or Mussina–turned out to be pivotal as Melvin Mora followed with a solo home run to right making it a one-run game. Ah, that’s more like it. Migeul Tejada grounded Gordon’s next pitch to Jeter at short and that was the game.
The Yankees move a full game ahead of the Red Sox who were off last night after playing thirty games in thirty days. The Indians won again so the Yanks are still a half-a-game out of the wildcard race. The Tribe continue to creep closer to the White Sox though, who lost in extra innings. Chicago’s lead is now down to a game-and-a-half. Is it getting hot in here?