Tough night for the Yankees. After an hour-long rain delay, Gavin Floyd and Andy Pettitte come out and start mowin’ ‘em down. Home plate ump Ted Barrett’s generous strike zone helps. There’s just one walk in the game (by Floyd to Johnny Damon in the top of the first), and 23 strikeouts, ten of them looking. Forty-six percent of Floyd’s strikes are called as opposed to swinging.
The Chisox eke out a run first when Chris Getz singles to lead off the third and scores on a two-out double into the left field corner by hot-shot rookie Gordon Beckham. Floyd and Pettitte retire the next 12 batters until the Yankees answer in the sixth when Jose Molina leads off with a double and Damon gets him home with a well-placed single toward the line in right (well placed to allow Molina to score from second, that is, it was a well-struck hit).
Entering the bottom of the sixth there have been just seven hits–three by the Yanks, four by the Sox–and the game is tied 1-1. Jim Thome leads off and hits an accidental blooper up the first base line. Pettitte hustles over to grab the ball and tag Thome out, but as he gets into his crouch, his right foot slips on the wet turf, sending him onto his backside and putting Thome on first base. After Pettitte strikes out Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski hits a skipper to Alex Rodriguez’s left that the Yankee third baseman flubs for an infield single putting men on first and second with one out.
With Pettitte at 101 pitches and righty Carlos Quentin coming up, Joe Girardi pops out of the bullpen and calls on the dominant Phil Hughes. Hughes gets Quentin to hit a hard grounder to third, which Rodriguez fields and fires to Robinson Cano at second to start a would-be inning-ending double play, but Pierzynski comes with a hard, late slide at second and Cano jerks his throw up the line. Mark Teixeira comes of the bag and knocks it down, but it rolls just far enough away to allow Thome to score with the go-ahead run.
In the top of the eighth, Derek Jeter drives Floyd from the game with a single on his 103rd pitch of the night. Damon then greets lefty fireballer Matt Thornton with a single pushing the tying run into scoring position, but Thornton hits his stride from there striking out Mark Teixeira to end the inning and Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui to start the top of the ninth on a combined ten pitches. Thornton’s first pitch to Nick Swisher is another called strike. His second is blasted into the left-field seats for a game-tying home run.
Swisher said after the game that he was trying to do too much against his former team in his first few at-bats, but with Thornton dominating he was just trying to get the bat on the ball. Mission accomplished.
Thornton then struck out Robinson Cano on three pitches.
Bottom of the ninth, Hughes still on having thrown just 24 pitches over the previous inning and a third. Hughes gets Jermaine Dye to foul out, but with Jim Thome up, Robinson Cano shifts into shallow right and Thome hits Hughes’ 0-1 pitch through Cano’s vacated position (why Jeter wasn’t pulled over for a full shift, I couldn’t tell you). With Scott Podsednik in to run, Konerko dumps Hughes’ next pitch into left to put the winning run on second base. Girardi then calls on Phil Coke to pitch to lefties Pierzynski and defensive replacement Dewayne Wise. Coke gets A.J. to fly out to shallow left center, holding the runners. He then works back from 2-0 to go even on Wise only to have Wise line the 2-2 back through the box. The ball ticks off Coke’s glove, but doesn’t change direction, heading straight into center for a game-winning single. Sox win, 3-2.