"Free baseball!" That was the remark last night of John Sterling on radio and Michael Kay on television.
Bump that. I hate extra innings. If you're going to lose, do it in the regulation 9.
The Yankees did neither. It took 12 innings, over 4 hours and 38 minutes, which Kay would call very "unmanageable." In other words, a typical game between the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. Especially at Camden Yards. But the Yankees won.
Freddy Garcia started and did not have his good stuff. Nevertheless, the old Yankee bugaboo of not hitting well against a starter they've never seen before -- in this case, Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen, making his major league debut -- did not hold, as Derek Jeter led off the game with a home run. (Overrated, and past it, my Pinstriped ass.) But the Orioles came right back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st, and led 4-1 after 5.
The Yankees tied the game in the top of the 6th. Robinson Cano led off with a single, Alex Rodriguez flew out, Mark Teixeira singled, Curtis Granderson drew a walk to load the bases, Andruw Jones hit a sacrifice fly to get Cano home and Teix to 3rd, Russell Martin reached on a fielding error that scored Teix, and Brett Gardner singled home Grandy.
Joe Girardi didn't want to bring Mariano Rivera into the 9th inning of a tie game, so he brought in Boone Logan. In the 9th inning. Of a tie game. In the Baltimore bandbox.
Nolan Reimold led off the inning with a single. Girardi wised up, and brought in Cory Wade, who got out of it.
The game went on, and on, and on. Finally, Cano led off the top of the 12th with a double. A-Rod moved him over to 3rd with a groundout. Potential winning run on 3rd, 1 out, Teix up. Good, right? No, bad: Teix grounded to 2nd and Cano had to hold. Then Grandy was intentionally walked to set up the forceout.
Big mistake, Buck Showalter: Raul Ibanez almost hit it out, settling for a ground-rule double. Mariano slammed the door in the bottom of the 12th.
Yankees 5, Orioles 4. Whew!
That's 2 straight in Baltimore after losing all 3 in Tampa Bay. The series concludes tonight, CC Sabathia vs. Jake Arrieta. Then tomorrow off, and then the home opener at Yankee Stadium II.