Andy Pettitte is a big man with a huge ass and strong legs, but watching him pitch, the word that comes to mind is: touch. Petttitte was everything the Yankees could have expected today, allowing one run over six innings on 79 pitches and he was a pleasure to watch, adding, subtracting–pitching.
It was a sleepy afternoon at Camden Yards with the Yanks leading most of the way. But the O’s rallied late, scoring once in the eighth and again in the ninth to force extra innings–Mariano Rivera allowed just his second home run of the year, this one to Luke Scott. It was on the second pitch of the at-bat, a cutter that was low but right over the plate, and Scott popped it over the tall right field wall. And like that, a seemingly casual win turned into a ballgame.
In the 11th, Alex Rodriguez led off with a pinch-hit walk against the lefty Mike Gonzalez. Eduardo Nunez replaced Rodriguez as a pinch runner, Ramiro Pena squared to bunt and took a strike. Then Gonzalez threw the ball away trying to keep Nunez close at first, a one-hoper into the stands. Joe Girardi replaced Pena with Marcus Thames who worked the count full and then waved over a slider for the first out.
Mark Teixeira pinch hit for Brett Gardner and was intentionally walked. Derek Jeter was next and he too was given a free pass, bringing up Fat Elvis, who has struggled as right-handed hitter. Berkman hit a high chopper to third base and as the Orioles started the 5-4-3 double play, it looked like even Fat Elvis would be able to leg it out. But he didn’t make it, out by a step. The play took forever to unfold and once Berkman was called out it was clear to this viewer that the Yanks were not going to win. Twelve runners left on base is too much.
At least it was swift. Scott led off with a bloop double then Ty Wigginton hit a rocket in the gap to end it. Final Score: O’s 4, Yanks 3.
Regrettable loss for the Yanks–aren’t they all regrettable, though?–as they blow a chance to gain another game on Tampa, who lost to the Angels.
Yanks, Rays, four games back home in the Bronx starting tomorrow. Then the Red Sox over the weekend.
Should be lively.
[Pictures by Bags]