Thursday, May 2, 2013

Overbay's No-Brainer Gives Yankees Win

In 2003, the Houston Astros, for reasons not entirely of their own choosing, used 6 pitchers to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees, in the opener of a 3-game series.  ESPN and the other sports-media outlets called this a great shame upon the Yankees.  Despite the fact that, at the time, the Astros were a good team. (They'd made the Playoffs just 2 years earlier and would do it the next 2 years.)

The Yankees proceeded to win the next 2 games and take the series anyway.

On Monday night, the Astros, now considered the worst team in the American League (as opposed to the worst team in the National League, which they were the last 2 years), beat the Yankees 9-1.  And sports media was basically saying, "See? This is the kind of result you should have expected from this half-injured, elderly-replacements Yankee team!"

The Yankees proceeded to win the next 2 games and take the series anyway.

David Phelps did not have good stuff last night, going into the 6th inning and allowing 8 hits.  This included a 4-run 4th inning that blew a 4-0 Yankee lead and tied the game.  But Astro starter Erik Bedard was worse, allowing 4 runs in 4 innings.  Robinson Cano (his 8th) and Ben Francisco (his 1st) both tagged him for home runs in the 3rd inning.

Paul Clemens -- no relation to Roger, who pitched for both of these teams -- relieved Bedard in the 5th, and Eduardo Nunez led off the 6th with a double.  Clemens threw a wild pitch, sending him to 3rd.  Lyle Overbay drew a walk.  After a coaching visit to calm him down, Clemens struck out Chris Stewart.

And then Astro manager Bo Porter -- a graduate of Weequahic High School in Newark who was briefly a poor-hitting major league outfielder, and played for the Oakland Athletics against the Yankees in the 2000 Playoffs -- took Clemens out! Why? He had just settled down and gotten an out.

Porter brought in Wesley Wright.  Wright got Ichiro Suzuki to ground into a double play.  But Overbay knew that, if he wasn't tagged before Nunez scored from 3rd, the run would count.  So he stopped short, and before he could be tagged, Nunez scored.  5-4 Yankees.

"As soon as he hit it, I knew it was soft enough to where I wasn't going to be able to get by him, so I just stopped and waited," Overbay said. "It was kind of a no-brainer."

This made Boone Logan, who had relieved Phelps, the pitcher of record.  Between them, Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing just 2 baserunners (a single each by Logan and Rivera).

WP: Logan (2-1).  SV: Rivera (11).  LP: Clemens (1-1).

Going into today's games, the Yankees are 2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.  The Orioles are 3 1/2 back, the Rays 7, and the Blue Jays 9 1/2.

The Yankees have today off, before starting a 3-game home series against the A's tomorrow.

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