I came home tonight after dinner with my cousin downtown, fed the cats, turned on the AC in the living room and the bedroom then got in the shower. It’s just too damn hot out there, man. Now, I knew the Yanks were behind 5-2 and that Hiroki Kuroda had given up two home runs. When I saw the score on my iPhone I was still on the subway. The Angels, man. Sombitch Angels. Reading the score was enough to spoil my digestion, and I’d had a perfectly nice evening, the summer stickiness notwithstanding.
The shower felt good and I tried not to think about the game. Now this never happens but I turned on the TV and heard Michael Kay say: “…There it Goes…” And I saw a ball high in the air headed for the seats. Looked at the graphic in the corner of the screen, saw that two men had been on base and soaked in the cheers as the Yanks had tied the game. The replay showed that Scott Downs hung a meatball tits-high over the plate and Mark Teixeira belted it like he was playing whiffle ball in the backyard. It was Teixeira’s second homer of the night (he also made a terrific play in the field in the third inning).
Almost ten minutes later, Kevin Jepsen, a right hander with a darting slider and a hard fastball, fell behind pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez and the Angels huddled on the mound. Dwyane Wise had already stolen second base–he came on as a pinch runner for Nick Swisher. Two men were out and the Angels’ move was clear–pitch around Ibanez to get to Russell Martin. Jepsen threw a 98 mph fastball that tailed outside. Ibanez wasn’t tempted and so the Angels put him on intentionally.
Martin took a slider for a ball, and then lined a fastball off the outside corner, down the right field line. Wise scored and the Yanks had the lead. It wasn’t a bad pitch and it was as if Martin was thinking outside fastball all the way.
Martin wasn’t done either. In the top of the ninth, Howie Kendrick was on first with two men out. Maicer Izturis took a 1-0 slider or splitter in the dirt. The moment it got passed Martin, Kendrick took off for second. Martin got to his feet and moved to his right,following the ball. It popped up right into his hand. Martin threw it to Derek Jeter who tagged Kendrick out for the last out of the game.
It was a bit of good fortune and Martin’s lucky night as the Yanks swiped one from the Angels.
Final Score: Yanks 6, Angels 5.
Watching the highlights, Swisher robbed Mark Trumbo of an extra base hit to end the eighth with a runner on second. And Trumbo’s homer off of Kuroda? It was a bomb, over the bullpen and into the left field seats. A grown man’s home run if there ever was one.
[Photo Credit: Obliterated/Evasee; Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images]