The Yankees had lost three straight going into last night’s game and frustration built by the inning as Chris Young was stingy and kept the Bombers off the board. Frustration turned into irritation when Young hit a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning to put the Mets up, 3-0.
And then, over the course of four pitches, the game changed.
Mark Teixeira led off the seventh against Young and worked the count full. He hit a foul tip that was dropped by the catcher, Josh Thole. The next pitch was over the plate but low for ball four. Close, and on a different night with a different umpire it could have easily been called a strike. Nick Swisher took a big swing at the first pitch he saw and it was likely his swing that caught right fielder Lucas Duda off-guard. Duda stepped back, hesitated, and then ran forward. Swisher hit the ball off the end of the bat and was so sure that he’d made an easy out that he ducked his head and loafed out of the box. But Duda’s hesitation was costly as he ran ahead and dove for the ball. He missed and the ball squirted behind him. Teixeira moved to third and even without hustling Swisher made it to second.
Before Yankee fans could say “runners in scoring position” Raul Ibanez hit a line drive on the first pitch he saw from Young. It was a seed, headed for the right field corner, and whoosh! it went over the fence, a three run homer. Four pitches and the game had changed.
Jon Rauch relieved Young, struck out Russell Martin and got ahead of pinch-hitter Eric Chavez 0-2 when he looked to waste a pitch up in the zone. It was at Chavez’s shoulders but the lefty fought it off and hit a fly ball to left. It appeared to be a long foul ball, but it stayed fair and went over the fence to put the Yankees ahead 4-3.
That’s how the score remained as the Bombers worked out of trouble in almost every inning–David Robertson pulled his usual Houdini act in the eighth, walking two and striking out the side–as it was the Mets’ turn to come up short with men on. Raphael Soriano got the save. The last out, a long fly ball off the bat of Daniel Murphy, looked scary coming off his bat. But it didn’t have that good sound and it fell into Swisher’s glove.