"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Win

C.C. Sabathia pitched pretty well, but pretty well wasn’t going to get it done against Francisco Liriano tonight. No, scratch that. Liriano was magnificent, but in the sixth inning his slider turned back into a pumpkin and the Yankees – no, never mind, in the sixth inning Sabathia lost it and the Twins finally – nope. It was Curtis Granderson – no, it was Mark Teixeira who – it was Mariano – the blown call in the ninth could’ve… screw it, the Yankees won, 6-4.

I went through quite a few different ledes tonight.

Initially, it looked like Francisco Liriano was going to out-ace C.C. Sabathia. The Hefty Lefty wasn’t bad, but his mistakes were taken full advantage off: a two-run Michael Cuddyer home run in the second inning, and a failure to cover first base quickly enough one inning later — combined with heads-up Orlando Hudson base running and a Posada passed ball — led to a 3-0 hole for the Yankees. At the time, that seemed like a lot of runs.

Meanwhile, for the first five innings, Liriano alternated between merely pitching well and making the Yankees look ridiculous. During his streak of 10 New York batters retired in a row, hitters like Gardner and Granderson and Alex Rodriguez were cutting loose with swings that came nowhere near the ball in either time or space.

But then all of a sudden Liriano turned mortal – or perhaps, to be less dramatic about it, in their third time through the order the Yanks just got a better feel for him. Mark Texeira got things started with a double, and Alex Rodriguez, who had struck out flailing on three pitches in his previous at-bat, worked a walk. Robinson Cano singled, and after a rather hapless-looking Marcus Thames struck out, Jorge Posada had a fantastic at-bat and pushed a single into right. Curtis Granderson’s triple finished the Yanks’ scoring in that inning, and also finished Francico Liriano’s night.

The bottom of that inning wasn’t any kinder to Sabathia, who had a very un-C.C. meltdown (“you’re being very un-Dude, Dude”). A walk, a double, and another walk loaded the bases, at which point Sabathia walked in the Twins’ tying run in the person of Danny Valencia (who has been a pleasant surprise for the Twins this season and is about to become an unpleasant surprise for a lot of Yankee fans). Yoicks. He recovered to strike out J.J. Hardy and end the inning, but the lead was already gone and everyone headed into the seventh inning all tied up at 4.

It was Texeira who led the second Yankee comeback, too, following a Nick Swisher single with a high, slow two-run home run just fair to right field. (I don’t know if it was an actual phenomenon or just a product of weird camera work, but the fly balls hit tonight seemed to have an unusually long hang time; I could’ve recited “Jabberwocky” in its entirety while waiting for that ball to come down on one side of the foul pole. Joe Girardi was shown yelling “Stay fair! Stay fair!” and his leadership skills with inanimate objects must be impressive, because it worked). So now the Yankees had a 6-4 lead, but with as many reversals as this game had, nobody was relaxing.

The Yankee pen kept things right there, although not without a few terrifying moments. It took the combined efforts of Boone Logan, David Robertson, and Kerry Wood to get the ball to Mariano Rivera, with two outs in the eighth and runners on second and third. And Rivera — who one of these days will start showing some cracks in his 40-year-old facade, but not today — got Denard (“No Relation Unless He Has Some Short Uncoordinated Jewish Relatives We Don’t Know About”) Span to do what hitters traditionally do against Mariano Rivera, and ground out.

The ninth inning would’ve been another by-the-numbers Rivera classic except that the third out, a shoestring catch by defensive replacement Greg Golson, was incorrectly ruled a trap by the umpires. As if we needed yet another argument for instant replay in the postseason, and if the Yankees had gone on to lose I would’ve suggested a Tweet-up at MLB Headquarters with pitchforks and torches. Instead, Jim Thome popped up the first pitch he saw, and the 6-4 lead held up.

For all the tsuris over how hard the Yankees should play for the Division as opposed to the Wild Card, the Twins lost their home field advantage along with this game. Andy Pettitte starts Game 2 tomorrow for roughly the 300th time in his career, and with the Yanks up 1-0 in the Series, I look forward to actually being able to breath during that one.


1 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 7, 2010 1:40 am

Both big Thome AB scared the living hell out of me. We escaped twice, but I really don't need to go through round three.

2 Emma Span   ~  Oct 7, 2010 1:49 am

The good news is that now, no matter what happens, Carl Pavano cannot eliminate the Yankees from the playoffs.

3 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Oct 7, 2010 1:58 am

28 outs to begin the quest for 28 rings - seems like a good lede, no?

This is the first post-season in a very long time where I have no angst - probably a combination of last year's WS win, realising we have a very flawed team, some really strong competitors across both leagues and maybe Goerge's passing. Regardless, feel like we've nothing to prove, nothing to lose, everything to win. Go Yanks!!!

4 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 7, 2010 2:09 am

[2] he never could.

5 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 7, 2010 2:16 am

[1] Yep, inbetween a lot of Ks, Thome is going to launch some monster taters..let's just hope there's no one on base. But feeling good now..Rays are in trouble.

6 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 7, 2010 2:25 am
7 RIYank   ~  Oct 7, 2010 7:14 am

Yeah, tsuris is right, Emma. And I love your description of the flailing against Liriano, the bats came nowhere near the ball in time or space.
Speaking of spacetime, though, the only way that the fly balls had greater hang time than usual is if (a) they were hit higher (like Granderson's triple!), or (b) Gritner is warping the spacetime continuum again.

8 Just Fair   ~  Oct 7, 2010 7:40 am

Good stuff. Though this game should not have been that close. Oh well.
I was listening to Sterling's post game show before bed. His live call of Granderson's hit was a "2 run double." After he played that clip he explained that it was eventually ruled a triple because Granderson did not move to 3rd on the throw in. Oy.

9 rbj   ~  Oct 7, 2010 8:56 am

[2] Breathing is for November.

10 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:00 am

[0] "his leadership skills with inanimate objects must be impressive, because it worked"

Just fantastic, Emma. My colleagues must all be wondering why I was laughing so much just now.

I'm thrilled the Yanks won, and just a little sad to have missed both the comeback (I was sadly falling asleep at 10 and have a long day of meetings and work ahead of me), and the vast majority of the 931 comment game thread. I look forward to being less tired and more active tonight. I did feel like, the second time through the lineup, the Yanks were getting a better feel for Liriano, and his pitches sometimes looked a little off as well.

11 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:08 am

your refrain for the day:
An-dee Pett-it! clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!
An-dee Pett-it! clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!

Oh, Mo. [looking skyward in awe]. Thank you again. You are The DIfference, sir.

Tex. T-reix. How very Godzilla of you. The powerful swing, and the majestic arc of the shot reminded me of those magnificent Matsui blasts. 3-2 pitch to boot, yes.

12 The Mick536   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:11 am

Exhausted after watching Doc. Lasted until Tex homer. Up in middle of night to pee, which old men do, and watched highlights on my computer. No way to be a fan, but I went back to sleep easily.

13 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:20 am

there are a few inanimate objects (in the form of pitchers) on the postseason roster who could use Girardi's touch.

14 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:30 am

"Breathing is for November."

Great line. So is T-reix. (Has anyone used that before? Props if so.)

Terrific, exhausting game. Kept telling self to 'pace' but can't do it in October, can we? It feels as if Jorge has had a LOT of superb at-bats last few weeks, while team scuffled, and - as DenEmma said, another last night. Give Granderson major credit for starting to dig his way out vs lefties (not that shabby this year after early scuffles all around). Sign it is fall? A Rod steals a base again.

Pos picks Doc as best of decade over Santana, and really, how can we resist that? (I know this is a bad day to try.) I still remember a lot of people here fighting the idea we should go after him. Sigh. Such an easy guy to cheer for (unless vs us).

Is it me or do the Rays feel truly on the ropes today with Shields. Pos (again) thinks, in that piece linked above, that Maddon may be outsmarting himself.

I'll join in:

An-dee Pett-it. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap.

15 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:45 am

[14] haven't seen T-reix used elsewhere, so I'm claiming authorship. At one point I thought it could be a clever idea for a Sterling call. "Tex, T-wrecks one!" but "Teixeira sends a Teix message" is much better, and obviously more of its time.

16 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:50 am

[14] re: Halladay. Back when the Phils got him I told a Phillies fan in my office his team just got the best pitcher in baseball. He was excited, but hadn't seen too much of him, having watched mostly NL East games. He asked, better than Santana? better than Sabathia? I told him way better, think Koufax with longevity. Utterly dominant stud pitcher.

17 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:52 am

[14] I think that it's telling that Cashman was willing to trade Montero for either Lee or Halladay.

I know trading Montero would be incredibly painful, and I understand the argument that he's untouchable but for either of those guys I would have done it forLee or Halladay.

18 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:53 am

[17] absolutely in a heartbeat

19 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:54 am

[17] There's some junk at the end of that sentence...

"I know trading Montero would be incredibly painful, and I understand the argument that he’s untouchable but for either of those guys I would have done it."

20 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:56 am

Leadership with inanimate objects, eh? All you need to think about is this:

Marcus Thames.

21 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:58 am

[19] I thought [17] was the better sentence because of the late movement.

22 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 7, 2010 9:59 am

[19] (good thing you didn't leave it dangling...)

23 rbj   ~  Oct 7, 2010 10:08 am

[22] Or hanging.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver