So it’s the bottom of the 7th last night and Andy Pettitte has just thrown his 106th pitch, a breaking ball that Nate McLouth won’t chase. Then Andy’s got the ball back from Chris Stewart, glove over his face looking it at the sign, nodding. He’s in rhythm. There’s one out in the inning and it’s 2-2 on McLouth. Pettitte throws a couple of more breaking balls–one inside, another one low–nodding, in time, working. This is what he does. Might not be much longer, but this is a man at work.
McLouth doesn’t bite and draws the walk. That’s the end of Pettitte’s night. Just an inning before a double play got him out of trouble and Andy pumped his fist. He gave up a bunch of hits but kept the team in the game. A prol plying his trade.
Couple of innings later the Yanks had a two-run lead, thanks to a home run by Robinson Cano, a triple by Curtis Granderson and an infield single by Lyle Overbay. And so now here’s Mo, emptying the tank. The Yanks have been riding him hard and there’s something thrilling about watching the old guy respond. He got weak ground balls from the first two hitters, and gracefully ran to first base to cover the bag on both outs. Then, there’s this bastard McLouth again, down to his last strike again. Mo tries to backdoor him and throws the ball to the spot but McLouth guesses along with him, squares the pitch up and hits it over Brett Gardner’s head in center field.
Okay, so Mo gets ahead of Brian Roberts too. Down to the last strike. Throws a cutter high but right where Stewart wants it and Roberts is waiting, gets on top of it and drives the ball to right scoring McLouth. One run game. Manny “the Future is Now!” Machado, who could be Mo’s son is next. Mo does something we rarely see, he uses a slide step. Throws a cutter for a strike and then another one, lower, called a strike. An improbable strike, a groaner for Buck Showalter and the home team, and good fortune for the Yanks. Still with the slide step Mo throws a fastball, high and out of the zone. The kids chases it. It’s only 92 mph but he’s late.
And behind two old pros–with some help from the home runs by Cano, Alex Rodriguez and a long one by Granderson–the Yanks win, 5-4.
They’re just a game behind the Rays.
[Photo Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP]