Friday, August 26, 2011

The Storm Before the Storm: 3 Grand Slams

So the Yankees' game on Wednesday night was another frustrating one. CC Sabathia, pitching against the Oakland Athletics, the team he grew up rooting for, was fine for 7 innings, but let in 2 runs in the 8th. But then Mark Teixeira hit his 35th home run of the season in the bottom of the inning, and it went to extras.

Unfortunately, Rafael Soriano pitched the top of the 10th, let a couple of runners on, and Covelli Loyce Crisp hit his 2nd home run of the game. Yeah, 2 homers in 1 game by Coco Crisp. Cereal Man made it 6-3 A's in the 10th.

Former A's slugger Nick Swisher hit his own 2nd homer of the game (18th of the season) in the bottom of the 10th, but it wasn't enough. A's 6, Yankees 4.

WP: Fautino De Los Santos (2-0). LP: Soriano (2-2), who had been pitching pretty well since he came off the Disabled List, but this time put up an inning like the ones he'd thrown earlier in the season, before he went on the DL. As they said in the football movie Wildcats, "U, G, L, Y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly!"

Yesterday afternoon was a different story. Hurricane Irene is coming up the East Coast, and has a very good chance to disrupt the series that starts tonight in Baltimore, between the Yankees and the Orioles -- who will be the first team to be eliminated from the American League Eastern Division race, and soon, especially if these games are actually played.

It's also likely to wreak havoc with the Mets' home series against the Atlanta Braves, and the Philadelphia Phillies' home series with the Florida Marlins -- who are probably thinking, "We got out of South Florida to get away from hurricanes, and look!"

Phil Hughes, who seemed to be back on track, got rocked in the 3rd inning. The A's led 7-1, and it looked like they were going to sweep the Yankees in Yankee Stadium II.

But the Yankees came back. Their scoreline for their last 5 innings was 1 4 4 6 6 -- which, in case you're wondering, is the ZIP Code for Hemlock, New York, south of Rochester at the western edge of the Finger Lakes.

Every now and then, you'll hear a baseball fan say that the great thing about baseball is that you never know when you're going to see something that you've never seen before.

Russell Martin, one of the men who made it happen, said he'd thought everything had happened before in baseball. Nope! Not this!

The Yankees did something no other Major League Baseball team had ever done before: Hit 3 bases-loaded home runs in 1 game. Three grand slams in a game!

Martin actually hit 2 homers. His homer in the 4th, off A's starter Rich Harden, started the comeback. In the 5th, the Yankees loaded the bases, and Robinson Cano cranked one, his 22nd homer of the season. That made it 7-6 A's.

Boone Logan pitched the top of the 6th. In fact, he got 4 outs, and allowed no baserunners. Yes, Boone Logan, the same guy I've wanted to run out of town on a rail. He ended up being the winning pitcher (4-2).

In the bottom of the 6th, the Yankees loaded the bases again. De Los Santos (2-1) came in to put out the fire. Instead, he got tossed into it. Martin hit his 2nd homer of the game (his 17th of the season), and it was 10-7 Yankees.

One run in the 5th, 4 in the 6th, and that wasn't even close to being the end of it. Imagine scoring 9 runs against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium -- and it's not even half-enough! The Yankees scored 6 in the 7th and 6 more in the 8th, including yet another grand slam, this one by Curtis Granderson.

It was the Grandy Man's 35th homer of the season, tying him with Teixeira for the team lead. Jose "Won't Test Ya" Bautista of the Pesky Blue Jays of Toronto has 37 to lead the majors.

Final score: Yankees 22, A's 9. That's right, it's no typographical error: Twenty-two to nine.

You wanna talk about RBIs? Grandy had 5, giving him 103 for the season. Teix had 2, giving him 98. Cano had 5, giving him 93. Martin had 6, giving him 59. Derek Jeter had 1, giving him 48; Brett Gardner had one, giving him 32; and Andruw Jones (who closed the scoring with his 10th homer) and Eduardo Nunez each had 1, raising each man's season total to 27.

The Yankees could have used 2 of those 22 runs on Tuesday and 3 on Wednesday: It would have meant winning "only" 17-9 yesterday, and they would have swept the series. Alas, it doesn't work that way, and they lost 2 out of 3, at home, to an A's team that isn't exactly the 1971-75, the 1988-92, the 2000-06, or even the 1980-81 vintage of Oakland baseball.

That's the way these things work sometimes: In 2004, the Cleveland Indians came into the original Yankee Stadium and won 22-0 -- and then the Yankees won the next 2 games of the series. The Indians ended up not making the Playoffs, the Yankees did -- for all the good it did them.

So the A's get 2 wins in New York, but are probably still glad to get out of town, out of the line of fire -- of Hurricane Irene and the Yankee bats. But now they have to go to Boston to face The Scum -- weather permitting. If they can take 3 out of 4 there, in the words of the legendary but nutty English soccer star and manager Kevin Keegan, "I would loove it, loove it."


And so the Yanks head down I-95 (probably better to bus it, instead of flying, considering the weather) to face the reeling Orioles. To make matters worse for this series, it's a 4-gamer, with a doubleheader tomorrow, due to the makeup of a rainout. Marlins at Phils, and A's at Red Sox, will also have makeup-inspired doubleheaders -- weather permitting. Although, considering that Irene is supposed to hit New York on Sunday, and then head out to sea, the series in Boston is probably safe, unless the Sunday game goes to extra innings.

A broadcaster long ago, I forget who and for what team, said that a doubleheader was rained out, and they'll play 4 tomorrow.

Assuming the games are played this weekend, all will be on the YES Network. Here are the scheduled times and pitching matchups:

Tonight, 7:05, A.J. Burnett vs. Tommy Hunter.

Tomorrow, 1:05, Ivan Nova vs. Brian Matusz.

Tomorrow, 7:05, Freddy Garcia (off the DL) vs. Zach Britton.

Sunday, 1:35, Bartolo Colon vs. Oriole starter to be determined.

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