When Mark Teixeira fielded the ground ball and hustled to first for the final out in the bottom of the ninth, manager Joe Girardi watched eagerly from the vistor’s dugout. He was coiled. But when the last out was made, Girardi and his coaches shook hands with enthusiasm. Everyone was pumped up.
They had every right to be pleased as the Yankees earned perhaps their most satisfying win so far this year. Andy Pettitte staked the Rays to an early 2-0 lead but pitched a wonderful game, allowing three runs and working into the eighth inning. Brian Bruney, who struck out the side last night on ten pitches, replaced Pettitte and whiffed the two batters he faced (Bruney got the win). Robinson Cano hit a two-run dinger and Johnny Damon, who missed the two previous games, drove in the tying run in the top of the eighth.
Then, in the ninth, Cody Ransom, who hasn’t hit a lick (and was benched again today in favor of Ramiro Pena), laced a one-out, pinch-hit liner into right center field. Running hard out of the box, he hustled his way into a double (a good throw would have made it close, but it was off-line). One out later, Derek Jeter singled to left, a ground ball that darted between the shortstop and third baseman. Ransom charged home as Carl Crawford bobbled the ball momentarily allowing him to score easily. The Yankees took advantage of two poor outfield throws, turning the tables on the Rays who ran without mercy on the Yankee outfielders last season.
Our great friend Mr. Rivera pitched the ninth: fly out to right, and two ground ball outs to first. Zip, zip, zip. The Bombers finish their nine-game road trip on a high note, and they will open the new Yankee Stadium tomorrow with a winning record of 5-4.