"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Not Too Hot Ta Trot

The Yankees weren’t playing their best baseball coming into their just-completed seven-game homestand, but the prospect of facing two of the three worst teams in the majors, the Indians and Orioles, as well as getting Curtis Granderson and Jorge Posada back from the disabled list promised better results. The Yankees got them by taking three of four from the Tribe, then sweeping the lowly O’s, wrapping up a 6-1 homestand with a 6-3 win over Baltimore on Thursday afternoon.

Despite the relatively close score, there wasn’t much drama in this one. The Yankees put up two runs again Baltimore starter Kevin Millwood in the bottom of the first, the first scoring on a balk when Millwood’s spikes caught on the mound in the middle of his slide-step, the second scoring on a Robinson Cano double that extended the Yankee second baseman’s hit-streak to 17 games. CC Sabathia gave up a solo homer to Adam Jones in the top of the third on what looked like another sinker up in the zone, but the Yankees answered right back with three runs in the bottom of the frame, two scoring on a home run by newly-minted active career homer leader Alex Rodriguez that hitting coach Kevin Long predicted was coming before the game, the third manufactured from Millwood’s ensuing walk to Cano.

Brett Gardner led off the sixth with a home run to right, his third of the year, all three coming at home and going to right field. That set the Yankee tally at six, making room for the two-run jack by Luke Scott that Sabathia allowed in the top of the seventh. Sabathia cruised through most of the game. In the first six innings, he allowed only Jones to reach base (on his home run and a comebacker that Sabathia swatted down with his big bare paw only to pull Mark Teixeira off the bag with his throw, ruled an error). He seemed to wilt in the heat a bit in the seventh when his pitch count approached 90, allowing a single to Ty Wigginton before Scott’s homer, a booming shot into the second deck in right, then walking the struggling Garrett Atkins, but CC rallied to strike out Jones (his seventh K of the game) and get a fielder’s choice to wrap up his seven innings with 94 pitches. Sabathia allowed just three hits in the game, two of them were home runs.

Joba Chamberlain followed Sabathia with a perfect eighth. Mariano Rivera then made things slightly interesting by starting out the ninth by walking Nick Markakis and hitting Wigginton to bring the tying run to the plate, only to reach back and strike out Scott on a sharp 94 mile-per-hour cutter, then hit 95 twice while getting the final two outs, one of those pitches being a fastball riding in that the righty Jones swung through for the final out.

Credit Rivera’s velocity, Sabathia’s homers and “early” exit, and perhaps Gardner’s shot as well, to the heat. It was hot Thursday afternoon, and so are the Yankees, which is exactly what they needed to be in this soft spot in their schedule. The Yanks are just two games behind the Rays, and, if they can survive their three game set in Toronto against the surprising Blue Jays this weekend, they should stay hot next week when they rematch against the Orioles (who seem likely to have a new manager by then) in Baltimore then return home to face the National League’s worst team, the Astros.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

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1 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jun 4, 2010 2:51 am

Love the Commodores!

Certain Banterites will kill me for this but...I loved watching Ken Griffey Jr play, and he's a no doubt HOFer. But all this "best of our generation" talk...c'mon, he wasn't close to being as good as Barry Bonds..( and I'm talking pre-steroid allegations). Griffey is a HOF center fielder, Bonds is one of the 3 best PLAYERS ever. Who cares that he was a legendary a-hole!

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 4, 2010 3:47 am

[1] You'll enjoy my next post (on Griffey).

3 Raf   ~  Jun 4, 2010 6:41 am

[1] I liked Griffey too, and I agree that he was no Bonds. Griffey hadn't been relevant since the trade to Cincy.

4 monkeypants   ~  Jun 4, 2010 7:40 am

[1] I won't kill you for that, but hindsight does improve one's vision. It made sense at the time---say 1998 or 1999---to evaluate the two players more evenly (taking defense-position into account) and to speculate that 28 or 29 y.o. Griffey had a lot more career in front of him than 33-34 y.o. Bonds. Of course, then Griffey got hurt and Bonds suddenly starting hitting 70+ HRs for no reason at age 36.

[3] I never "liked" Griffey, though he was a heckuva player. He also put up one pretty fine season in Cincinnati before injuries really did him in. From a narrative perspective it's too bad: he left his small market team but did so to return home (sort of like Bonds going to SF), but it all ended pretty badly. Maybe he should have gotten the same personal trainer as Bonds...

5 Crazy8Rick   ~  Jun 4, 2010 5:14 pm

In a time when many players made the choice to take steroids to enhance their athletic abilities Ken Griffey Jr shines like a beacon in the night for relying on his God given talents both during both the good times and the bad times. He made baseball fun, and you could clearly see he was having fun, goofy grin and all.
Hall of fame... "INCOMING!"

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