Because there is no clock in baseball–or because the clock is controlled by outs not time–a single play or at-bat can become its own mini drama. Take Saturday afternoon. Bartolo Colon got smacked around and the Yanks made some base running mistakes (Robbie Cano, lookin’ at you, son) and were trailing 6-1. Then Alex Rodriguez hit a line drive, three-run home run in the sixth inning and suddenly they were back in the game, down 6-5. It was the first pitch and it was inside but Rodriguez tucked his hands in and turned on it, an encouraging sign.
Derek Jeter led off the seventh with an infield base hit and then Curtis Granderson had an at bat that was long and memorable. It lasted twelve pitches but there was a time out in the middle of it when a foul tip struck catcher Jose Molina on the forearm that lasted almost five minutes. When play resumed, with the count 2-2, Granderson kept fouling pitches off, and some good pitches at that–fastballs and especially good curve balls, diving down in the strike zone. He fouled one ball on the ground by his feet and it bounced straight up and knocked the bill of his helmet. “A painful at bat,” said Michael Kay on the YES broadcast. Finally, pitch number twelve, a change up, also a good one, down and away, was put in play. Or out of play, as Granderson skied a home run to left center field, his 40th of the year.
How good must that feel? He’d already gotten two hits and drawn a walk. Then he hung in there, fouling pitches off, and hit a tough change up for a home run.
It was the difference in the game. Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless 9th for the save, tying with with Trevor Hoffman at 601.
Final Score: Yanks 7, Jays 6.
A most satisfying win–a come-from-behind special–especially since the Red Sox also lost.