If there was any fairness in the world, the Yankees would have to throw that win back. Or perhaps baseball should institute a rule whereby, when it’s called for, the umpires could just declare the game a loss for both teams. Pending such an innovation, though, tonight’s score will have to stand: Yankees 8, Mets 7, on a walk-off error.
Yep, that was one fugly baseball game. At the beginning of the night, back when we were young, Joba Chamberlain took the mound for the Yanks. He looked pretty decent the first couple of innings… and then imploded, at least as much as you can implode without giving up more than two runs. His control fled like a teenager in a slasher flick and he walked two batters, hit one, walked another, hit another, and threw more than 40 pitches just in the third. At the end of his abbreviated night he’d tossed 100 pitches in just four innings, while allowing five walks. Yeesh.
If I try to give you a detailed blow-by-blow on all the offense, I’ll be here all night, so here’s the Cliffs Notes: the Yankees went up 1-0, then the Mets took a 2-1 lead, then the Yankees came back and made it 3-2, then Brett Tomko came in — yes, that Livan Hernandez-Brett Tomko marquee matchup New Yorkers have been waiting for! — and the Mets torched him for four earned runs, including a patented Gary Sheffield blast. The Yankees clawed their way back when Jeter hit a New Stadium Special solo shot to right, and Matsui followed the next inning with a big three-run homer to make it 7-6. The Mets came right back in the seventh: 7-7, tie game.
With two outs in the eighth, Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera. Obvious question: why couldn’t he have done this last night, when I was driving my mom up the NJ Turnpike and cursing extensively at the radio while trying to explain to her about high-leverage situations? Of course, tonight Girardi followed my advice and it didn’t work at all. Ah well. Beltran walked, Wright doubled, and the Mets took a one-run lead, again, some more.
However hapless the Yanks were tonight, though, in the end, the Mets were… uh, haplesser. In the bottom of the ninth Derek Jeter singled off of K-Rod, a nice piece of hitting, and stole second; Teixeira was intentionally walked once the count went to 3-0. The Yankees were down to their final out, though, and naturally it all came down to A-Rod – and he hit a soft little routine pop-up behind second. Game over, you had to assume, as Luis Castillo settled under it… but then Castillo… dropped it. Just like that, for no visible reason. It bounced and fell out of his glove. Huh.
It was exactly what you always hope will happen on the last out of a loss but of course it never, ever does. Teixeira and Jeter were running hard from the start, and so they both scored, and voila: walk-off E-4. The Yankees didn’t win this one so much as the Mets lost it, but hey, it all comes out the same in the standings.
Be sure to catch the SNY pregame show tomorrow, when Louis Castillo will be torn apart by an angry mob… that is, if the team hasn’t already sacrificed him on an altar to appease the baseball gods. (I hear the new Stadium has an amazingly luxe visitors’ altar).