The Indians beat the Mariners 4-3 in 12 innings last night, eliminating Seattle from the playoffs. That was as close as the Yankees would get to a clincher, however, as the Tigers stomped the Twins 8-0 and the Yanks lost another extra inning contest.
Kei Igawa pitched as well as could have been reasonably expected, holding the Devil Rays scoreless over five innings. It wasn’t pretty, Igawa walked five and had to get out of a second-and-third one-out jam in the first (he did so by striking out B.J. Upton and Delmon Young, Kei’s only two Ks of the night), and two-out bases loaded jam in the third, but he only allowed two hits, both singles.
The Yanks got on the board right away against Jason Hammel with a Johnny Damon single, stolen base, and a Derek Jeter double. Alex Rodriguez then padded the lead with a grand slam in the third, which pushed him past 150 RBIs on the season. Edwar Ramirez and Brian Bruney gave it all back plus one in the sixth, however, as Ramirez walked Upton, gave up an RBI double to Dioner Navarro, then walked Jonny Gomes. Bruney then entered with one out, walked Greg Norton to load the bases, and struck out Josh Wilson on three pitches. With two out and the bags packed with the tying runs, Bruney walked Akinori Iwamura on five pitches to push the second Tampa run across, then gave up a batting practice grand slam to that man I warned you all about, 32-year-old minor league lifer Jorge Velandia. Velandia, who is on his seventh cup of coffee, had never hit a home run in the major leagues before.
Ron Villone and Chris Britton held things down from there as the Yankees plated a leadoff double by Jorge Posada in the eighth to tie the game at 6-6. Then Joe Torre started a parade of scary relievers. Kyle Farnsworth, working from the windup for the second straight appearance, aced the eighth. Jose Veras, showing a nifty curve, pitched around a walk in the ninth. Jeff Karstens . . . not so much. Karstens first two pitches to tenth-inning leadoff hitter Dioner Navarro were balls. The third was a meatball. Home run to right. Rays win 7-6.