Ol’ Reliable. That was Andy Pettitte tonight. Man, it felt like old times. He worked quickly and had an aggressive Reds team off-balance. Heck, he struck out the great Joey Votto twice and when he later made a mistake to the slugger, Votto nailed the pitch but lined it to Curtis Granderson in center field.
‘Bout the only thing that spoiled the fun for a while was the Yankees’ inability to score themselves. Alex Rodriguez doubled and was stranded on base in the second. Granderson singled the start the fourth and moved to third on a base hit to right field by Robinson Cano. Jay Bruce bobbled the ball and Cano, who did not run hard out of the box, foolishly tried to reach second. Bruce, who has a strong arm, nailed him. Rodriguez brought Granderson home on a ground out to short.
The lead off runner was stranded in the fifth and the Yanks loaded the bases with nobody out for Rodriguez in the sixth. Bronson Arroyo–remember him, that high-leg kicking junk ball throwing so-and-so?–fell behind 2-0 and some of us wondered how the Bombers were going to screw this up while we pleaded for them to break it open. Rodriguez got a fastball and hit a hard ground ball to third. The throw came home and Jeter was called out–replays showed the catcher’s foot was off the base. Raul Ibanez grounded out and Nick Swisher popped out and where have we seen this before?
But Pettitte kept dealing. He was terrific and went eight innings, striking out nine. Rodriguez made a nice diving stop to end the eighth but the most impressive defensive play came from Chris Stewart in the sixth. With one out, Drew Stubbs–the Reds leading base stealer–was on first base. He measured Pettitte and got a good jump and ran to second base. Stewart bend down and backhanded a breaking ball that almost hit the ground and in one blinding motion, stood up and fired the ball to Cano who tagged Stubbs out. It was the quickest catch and throw I recall seeing in some time and reason enough to have Stewart on the roster. Really a remarkable play.
The score remained 1-0 when Pettitte left the field to much cheering in the eighth. Then Robinson Cano hit a long home run to the right center field bleachers. It was a whiffle ball home run, a get-you-off-your-ass-and-hollar dinger. Hell, I’m still jacked about it. Rodriguez hit the next pitch on the nose, good for a single and then Ibanez lined a homer to right.
It was more than enough. Boone Logan worked a scoreless ninth and the Yanks won, 4-0.
The offense wasn’t great but four runs is a start. The story of the night, though, was Pettitte. This here is one to relish.
[Photo Via: A Journey From Reality]