Man, it’s gorgeous out there today. I’ve gotta say, once it gets hot and sunny out, I can’t summon any real sense of urgency for day games. Not that I enjoy watching any less… but I get pretty laid-back about it.
Today’s game was appropriate, then, as the Yankees beat the Rays 4-3 with one of the least exciting three-run eighth inning comebacks you’ll ever see. It was still a nice win (and the Yanks’ 20th come-from-behinder of the season), it’s just that a few walks, an error, and a couple of dinky shoulda-been DP balls is hardly the stuff of legend. For an inning there it was like playing the old Devil Rays of a few years ago. Still, whatever works, and the Yanks, for now, have regained their .5-game division lead.
For the first five innings, the game was mostly a Matt Garza-Joba Chamberlain pitching duel. They both allowed a single run in the third – Joba on a B.J. Upton RBI double, Garza on a Nick Swisher homer – but that was it. Then in the sixth Joba, who’d been cruising along pretty efficiently, lost his fastball control and got himself into a mess. With the bases loaded, Gabe Gross hit a single up the middle and the Rays took a 3-1 lead. Chamberlain recovered to K Dioner Navarro, though, and that combined with Alfredo Aceves’s impressive six outs meant New York’s deficit never got too daunting.
The Yankees launched their passive-resistance-style comeback in the eighth. Damon and Teixeira singled, A-Rod walked, and then Cano walked – and if I were a manager and my reliever managed to walk Robinson Cano with the bases loaded, I’d be out of the dugout so fast the cameras would only pick up a Superman-like blur. Anyway, then Posada reached, and the game was tied, thanks to a painful error on a likely DP ball by Willy Aybar at third. Matsui hit another likely DP but beat the throw to first (yeah, you heard me) and got away with a force out. And with that, the offensive fireworks were complete. The Yanks’ one-run lead was all they needed, since Mariano Rivera returned to his customary awesomeness and made short work of the Rays, including final out Evan Longoria.
Meanwhile, I’m really liking David Cone as an announcer these days. He seems to enjoy himself, he throws around obscure player slang, and he always seems to be just moments away from forgetting where he is and telling some great, wildly inappropriate story about his playing days that will traumatize young children and gpossibly get him canned. Fun.