In their first night game of the spring, the Yankees played the Reds to a ten-inning one-run tie, with Bronson Sardinha again coming up with a big ninth-inning hit in a televised game. Roger Clemens soaked it all in from the stands with his son Koby, the Astros minor league third baseman.
S – Melky Cabrera (CF)
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Jason Giambi (DH)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L – Hideki Matsui (LF)
R – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
L – Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)
R – Kevin Thompson (RF)
Pitchers: Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Darrell Rasner, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Myers, Jose Veras, Sean Henn
Subs: Josh Phelps (1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Alberto Gonzalez (SS), Chris Basak (PR/3B), Ben Davis (C), Raul Chavez (C), Brett Gardner (CF), Kevin Reese (PR/LF), Eric Duncan (DH), Bronson Sardihna (PH/RF)
Opposition: The surprising third-place Reds’ B-squad featuring just three starters led by Edwin Encarnacion.
Big Hits: Alex Rodriguez (2 for 3) led off the second inning with a double that rolled to the wall in center. With the Yankees down by one in the bottom of the ninth, Chris Basak (1 for 2) lead off by yanking a double down the left field line. After Kevin Reese bunted Basak to third in his only plate appearance, Torre sent Bronson Sardinha up to pinch-hit in roughly the same game situation as his game-winning homer on Monday. Sardinha delivered a game-tying single (it could have been a double but he stumbled rounding first). Later in that inning, with Cairo on first and two outs, Josh Phelps (1 for 1) creamed a ball to deep left that hopped over the wall for a grounds-rule double, forcing Cairo to hold up at third with the potential winning run.
Who Pitched Well: Everyone really. Pettitte pitched three scoreless innings, working out of a second inning bases-loaded jam by striking out Javier Valentin with a sharp curve and getting Juan Castro to ground into a double play. Mariano Rivera pitched his second perfect inning of the spring, striking out Josh Hamilton on a changeup, after which he laughingly gestured to Jeter at shortstop, pointing to his eyes as if to say “did you see that?” Darrell Rasner also showed a nice curve over three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two. Myers and Veras combined to pitch a perfect ninth. Henn added a perfect tenth save for Alberto Gonzalez’s third error of the spring.
Who Didn’t: Luis Vizcaino allowed the one Reds run on a Joey Votto homer with two outs in the eighth, but otherwise looked sharp, striking out two in his one inning of work, and also showing a nice curve.
Battles: Three scoreless innings by Rasner. A clutch ninth-inning double by Phelps in his only at-bat. Ben Davis flied out in his only at-bat and was pinch-hit for with Sardinha in the ninth. Raul Chavez served only as a defensive replacement in the tenth.
Oopsies: With two outs in the third and the bases empty, Pettitte got Chris Denorfia to hit a slow hopper to third base. Alex Rodriguez gloved it, pumped twice, and uncorked a throw that tailed into the runner. Mientkiewicz caught it, but was pulled off the bag and missed the tag. E-5. Rodriguez was also thrown out at home following his second-inning lead-off double when he then ran through Larry Bowa’s stop sign on Hideki Matsui’s ensuing single. In the third, Rodriguez took an 0-2 called strike three with two on and two outs. Tough day for the third baseman. After his game-tying single, Bronson Sardinha was thrown out stealing second on the back end of a botched hit-and-run (Cairo swung through the pitch). Alberto Gonzalez, who before last night had made the only two Yankee position player errors this spring, one at second base and one at third, picked up an E-6 in the tenth to complete the set when a hopper skipped under his glove at shortstop. To be fair, he had to range to his left and charge the ball to have a play on it.
Ouchies: In the first inning, Pettitte broke Denorfia’s bat with a cutter and the barrel flew back to the mound and knicked him in the ring finger of his pitching hand. He showed no ill effects afterwords. The X-rays on Todd Pratt’s heel came back negative, he should return to action soon. Humberto Sanchez is light tossing. Brian Bruney, who has been out with a back and the flue, threw 25 pitches in the bullpen last night and should get in a game by the weekend. Bobby Abreu should be dry swinging a bat this weekend.
Notes: Roger Clemens sat in the stands near the Yankee dugout to watch his buddy Andy Pettitte pitch. He spend an inning on the air with Ken Singleton and Al Leiter (my broadcast dream team) in the YES booth, but didn’t betray anything about his intentions for this year (though if you want to try to read into his words, the clip is available on MLB.com). During the game, Clemens was seen talking jovially with Ron Guidry, Yogi Berra, and Reggie Jackson. It’s a real treat to see players of that caliber palling around and disseminating wisdom to the current Yankees. Goose Gossage seemed to spend the entire game lecturing Scott Proctor in the dugout. Good stuff.