Saturday, June 21, 2014

Carlos Belts Walkoff

Sometimes, you simply get shut down by the opposition, and there's nothing you can do.

Sometimes there is something you can do about it.

Last night, in the opener of a 3-game home series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees got a Jacoby Ellsbury single and stolen base, and a Mark Teixeira double, in the 1st inning... and then nothing over the next 7. No runs, just 6 hits.

Hiroki Kuroda was fine for 5 innings, but in the 6th, he tired, and allowed 2 runs. That shouldn't have mattered much, but, because the Yankees have had such trouble hitting the last year and a half, it did. The bullpen allowed another run, so it was 3-1 O's going to the bottom of the 9th. I had no hope.

O me of little faith. Brett Gardner led off with a single, and, just like that, the tying run was at the plate. And it was Derek Jeter, ol' Captain Clutch himself.

He struck out. Well, that's it, right?

That was not it. There were 2 outs to go. But Ellsbury flew out. Well, that's it, right?

That was not it. There was still 1 out to go. Yogi Berra taught us, "It ain't over 'til it's over." And in baseball, the game is never over until the last man is out.

The batter was Mark Teixeira. He worked a walk. Kelly Johnson was sent in to pinch-run for him. Now, the tying runs were on, with very good speed, and the winning run was at the plate.

The batter was Brian McCann. He smacked a line drive to center. It dropped for a hit. Gardner scored. 3-2 O's.

The batter was Carlos Beltran. Johnson on 2nd. Francisco Cervelli, finally back on the 25-man roster after so long injured, pinch-ran for McCann at 1st.

Infamously, Beltran left the bat on his shoulder to take a called 3rd strike, with the tying and Pennant-winning runs on base, to lose an NLCS Game 7 for the Mets.

That was 8 years ago. Last night, given a similar chance, he remembered he was now a Yankee.

Beltran belted one, a long drive to left field. It was high. It was far. It was... GONE! 5-3 Yankees! And the Pinstripers went nuts at home plate as Beltran came home.

On WFAN, John Sterling was so excited, he forgot to say, "Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeeee Yankees win!"

WP: David Huff (2-0). No save. LP: Zach Britton (3-1).

With the win, the Yankees remain a game and a half behind the Toronto Blue Jays, even in the loss column.

The series continues this afternoon. Vidal Nuno (oy) vs. Bud Norris. And Tino Martinez gets his Monument Park Plaque.

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