"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Thunder-in, Shakin’ the Concrete

The Orioles are dead. The reason I know this is I saw them lose with my own eyes. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have believed it.

They pursued the Yankees all summer long, took the ALDS to five games and in the eighth inning had the bases loaded with one out, down by a couple of runs. Right there biting at the Yankees’ heels because where else would they be? But tonight, CC Sabathia delivered arguably his finest performance as a Yankee. He not only got out of the jam in the eighth but he returned in the ninth and finished the game as the Yanks beat the Orioles 3-1 to advance to the ALCS.

The game began essentially where it left off last night and for the first four-and-a-half innings it was like watching Groundhog’s Day. No hits, no runs.

Then Mark Teixeira led off the bottom of the fifth with a single over the shift into right field. With first baseman Mark Reynolds playing behind him, Teixeira took a walking lead and then sprinted to second and made it safely. Raul Ibanez fouled off a few pitches and then singled Teixeira home. The next inning, Derek Jeter walked with one out and scored all the way from first on a double off the bottom of the right center field wall by Ichiro. And then in the seventh, Curtis Granderson finally got a pitch in the strike zone that he could handle, pounding it into the seats in right field for a home run.

That gave Sabathia a healthy 3-0 lead and he cruised through the Orioles lineup. The only bad moment–and it was a hold-your-breath-tight spot–came in the sixth when Nate McClouth launched a 3-2 pitch high into the right field seats. It went over the foul pole and was ruled foul. The Orioles protested, the umps huddled, and the replays showed that the ball was in fact foul. However, one replay, with an extreme close up of the pole, showed that the ball could have scraped the pole. You can see the ball slightly change directions as it passed the yellow stick. But it wasn’t clear enough to overturn the call and the umps upheld their original call. McClouth whiffed on the next pitch and before you knew it, Ichiro had given the Yanks a two-run cushion.

Sabathia worked easily through the seventh and then came his bend-but-don’t-break eighth. Matt Wieters singled to start the inning and Manny Machado followed with a walk. Mark Reynolds worked the count even, missed a fastball that got too much of the plate (fouling it off), and then whiffed on a breaking ball. Had a pitch, missed the pitch.

But Lew Ford hit a ground ball through the left side for a base hit–watching the replay it was as if someone yelled “Timber” as Jeter dove after it. I thought Brett Gardner, who’d just entered the game as a defensive replacement, had a play at the plate on the slow-footed Wieters but instead threw to third base in order to prevent the runners from advancing.

Robert Andino, another scrapper, hit a slow chopper toward third. Sabathia hopped after it, fielded and then hesitated for a moment, looking at third base. But Chavez had gone after the ball too and wasn’t near the bag. The play was to first, but Sabathia threw to second instead. Too late. His mistake loaded the bases.

He summoned up a mess of courage, struck out McClouth and then got JJ Hardy to hit a slow ground ball to short. Jeter charged in, fielded the ball, and then made an off balanced throw to first. It reached Teixeira in plenty of time for the third out. Jeter may not have much range but he didn’t botch the one right at him–and one he had to make a play on, it was no gimme–when the chips were down.

Sabathia came back out in the ninth, got Adam Jones to sky out to Gardner, struck out Chris Davis, and ended the game by getting Wieters to hit a harmless ground ball to the mound. Sabathia tossed the ball to Teixeira like he was tossing an egg at the county fair.

Final Score: Yanks 3, O’s 1.

CC is a Stud.

The Orioles were resilient and relentless. The Yankees, as fate had it, were a touch better, or luckier.

However you want to call it, the Bronx be happy.

Tomorrow gives the Tigers. Tonight gives relief, hugs, and love.

[Photo Credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images North America; Elsa/Getty Images North America]

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Playoffs  Yankees

Tags:  2012 ALDS  CC Sabathia

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1 rob_smith_51   ~  Oct 12, 2012 8:53 pm

It seems like this is one of the best pitching performances the Yanks have had in a series.

10 runs over 5 games (plus 7 innings).

Hope they can keep it up.

2 bags   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:05 pm

You know, I always bridle at the trope that wins and losses are proxy for moral fiber. When you win, you are strong. When you lose, you are weak.

There has been a lot of that this season with the whole lousy RISP performance. And even the hopeless lack of hitting by nearly everyone in this series.

That said, I thought they were dead ballsy in this series and especially today. Who knows how far they'll go. But they didn't roll over in the first round this year. Feels good.

On to the Tigers.

3 monkeypants   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:12 pm

OK, a different question: do the Yankees change their roster before tomorrow? (They can make a change between series, right?)

If Joba is hurt, perhaps they swap him out. Also, if Gardner is only a defensive replacement/pinch runner, and A-Rod is slumping, perhaps they swap Gardner for someone who can (nominally) hit?

4 Ara Just Fair   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:19 pm

CC is The Man. So happy. 5 minutes into my drive tonight I heard Sterling's call of Granderson's homer. Then got to see the bottom 8th and 9th. Yowsers. So happy. Cheers all!

5 bartap   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:30 pm

The Tigers scare me, with Cabrera and Fielder in the middle of the line-up and Verlander pitching 2 games. Then again, when the Yankees get hot, they can beat anyone. It was a distinctly cold team that played the Os; I wonder which edition we get tomorrow night...

6 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:31 pm

Wouldn't be surprised if Dickerson is back on the roster.

7 monkeypants   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:33 pm

[6] 10 pitchers and 15 position players, or - Gardy + Dicky (Dickery? Dicksy?) ?

8 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:36 pm

[6] [7] Forget where I read it, but the Tigers don't have a lefty starting pitcher. Nune5 could be dropped in favor of Dickerson, leaving Nix as the BUMI.

Also heard that Nova or Garcia might be added if Joba can't pitch.

9 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:40 pm

Meanwhile, Gonzalez imploded a bit and its now Nats 6, Cards 3.

I'm not sure who the better matchup is for the Yanks. I think it might be the Nats.

10 monkeypants   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:41 pm

[8] Interesting. I hadn't thought of a Dickery for Nuney swap. Still, at least Nunez can (theoretically) play offense and defense and run, but Gardner appears restricted only to defense and PR.

11 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:44 pm

[9] I wanna watch me some more Harper.

However, I'm rooting for the Giants in any case.

If it comes to SF vs NYY, I've promised myself I can fly up to SF and catch my 1st World Series game.

12 monkeypants   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:45 pm

[11] I like the historic resonance of Giants-Yankees.

13 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:48 pm

[12] That, and the offensive ineptitude of the Giants.

14 bartap   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:49 pm

[10] Didn't Gardner have a hit or two near the end of the season?

15 monkeypants   ~  Oct 12, 2012 9:51 pm

[14] He did, but it's clear that he's now being used as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency-only batter. If that's the case---if that's how Girardi will use him---hes wasting a roster spot.

16 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 12, 2012 10:08 pm

Somebody forgot to put a stake in the corpse.

Cardinals are coming back ...

17 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 12, 2012 10:10 pm


This might just have been the best Division round of games ever.

18 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 12, 2012 10:58 pm

Speaking of the Hardy play, did anyone else know he was that slow?

19 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 13, 2012 7:11 am

It's Saturday moring and I just checked the scores.
The Nationals BLEW the Game and the Series.

After giving up a Run in the 8th, and,
with a 2 run lead in the 9th, they had TWO outs, man on 1st.
Then TWO walks!
SB... (which scored as the insurance run)

FOUR runs in.

Imagine Sori pitching with 2 Outs and walking the next 2 guys.
Broken hearts abound in our nation's Capitol.

20 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Oct 13, 2012 8:06 am

[19] Oooh, gag me with a pitchfork.

I stayed up and saw that tragedy. Two outs, two strikes, and the tying runs were scored on a hard grounder that deflected off the SS's glove. He should have made the play. Then the double by the late call-up .200 BA minor league player (the Nats version of Bucky fuggin Dent), and the Cards had the 2 run lead. The crowd went from political rally happy to memorial service devastated in a matter of 30 seconds. The bottom of the ninth was an afterthought. The current world champions continue their try for the repeat. Happy times in St. Louis.

21 RIYank   ~  Oct 13, 2012 8:08 am

Yep, and that region just lost both of their Cinderella playoff teams, too.

Note to Thelarmis: how about those two cute blondes in the Girardi post-game interview?

22 monkeypants   ~  Oct 13, 2012 8:16 am

I wonder if Strasburg will ever have the chance to participate in the playoffs...for the Nats.

23 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 13, 2012 8:22 am

Nice recap, Alex. Love the Fat Albert pic. If I ever meet CC I'm going to hug him and thank him for killing those doity stinkin boids.

Time to confront the boogeyman.

Re: Gardner, Girardi has decided he's not ready to hit, but I think you still have to keep him around for defense if somebody gets hurt, and to pinch run late in a game.

24 rbj   ~  Oct 13, 2012 8:37 am

Great. The Cardinals are still alive. You know what that means? There's a Molina still out there. Molinas are dangerous in the post season.

25 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 13, 2012 8:41 am

This has been an amazing roun if baseball! And to think the WWW still puts college football interior front page..
Tigers will go down, at leat twice to their leaky pen. Yanks in 6.

26 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 13, 2012 8:43 am

(25) Umm.. A lot of iPhone typos there.. But you get my point. Time for slumber!

27 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Oct 13, 2012 12:21 pm

[21] Third wife material in 20 years?

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