What you need to know is that Ivan Nova pitched another good game and Rick Porcello wasn’t bad either. You should know that Alex Rodriguez was cheered and booed in his return to The Stadium, the boos becoming more piercing as the night wore on and he whiffed in three of his four at bats. You need to know that the Yankees had a two-run lead in the ninth and Austin Jackson on second with one out when Tori Hunter came to the plate.
Hunter’s one of those guys who has never had much luck against Mariano. So, what happens? He blisters a cutter back up-the-middle. It’s headed directly for Mo’s nuts, on one clean hop. But Rivera fields the ball, hops in the air, turns to second to freeze Jackson and then throws the ball to first for the second out.
Okay, now for one more for the money.
Miguel Cabrera, 0-4 in his career against Mo, popped the first pitch up in foul territory. Lyle Overbay edged his way near the camera well, reached over, extended his glove, the ball just out of his reach. If only he…damn.
Still, Mo got ahead 1-2 and then Cabrera fouled a pitch off his left knee. He called time, and hobbled around for a few minutes. Play resumed, he got back in the box, Rivera threw practically the same pitch and Cabrera fouled this one a few inches lower, same leg. He didn’t swing at the next pitch, a cutter outside but was ready when Mo made a mistake. Cause this next one may have been down but it right over the plate. And Cabrera being the stud that he is, did not miss it. In fact, he murdalized it, and the fucking thing sailed well over the fence in center field. The game was tied.
Mo’s second straight blown save, some hurt feelings all around, and a bummer of the first magnitude. Yet it was hard not to be impressed. Cabrera is a beast, and hey, at least Mo didn’t get beaten by a chump.
Prince Fielder followed with a double and after an intentional walk Mo got out of it. His boys didn’t do dick in the bottom of the inning and the Tigers left two men stranded on base in the tenth.
Jayson Nix, who replaced Rodriguez in the ninth cause he’s a better glove, walked to start the bottom of the inning against Al Alburquerque. Curtis Granderson, not bunting, singled to right, Nix to second.
So I sat on my couch and asked Overbay not to hit into a double play (using my late night, inside voice, my pleading voice). He got ahead 2-1, swung through a tight, darting slider, fouled another pitch off, and then swung through a splitter, to strike out. The pitch was in the dirt, so low that got passed the catcher allowing the runners to advance. Nunez was walked intentionally for…Chris Stewart.
And I wondered if maybe a squeeze wasn’t in order. Stewart hit into a double player earlier in the game, you know.
Here’s out it went: Fastball, inside, ball one. Fastball at the knees for a strike, 1-1.Slider, inside, swung on and missed, 1-2. Outfield shallow, infield tight. Fastball, outside corner and he just stares at it for strike three.
Grimace, teeth grind, walk of shame.
Gritty Gritner took a strike and then slapped a little ground ball between third and short, an innocent little grounder, but one that found the hole and got into the outfield, which permitted the game-winning run to score.