Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yankees Score 12 Runs. And It's Almost Not Enough.

Every now and then, the Yankees have one of those games that makes you say, "I wish they'd saved some of those runs for later." It usually happens when they're about to play the Red Sox, especially at Fenway Park.

And what's the next series on the Yankee schedule? Well, lookee what we have here: A trip to Boston to play the Red Sox at Fenway.

So what happened last night, against the Texas Rangers? The Yankees scored 12 runs.

Legend has it that, after a 1964 afternoon game in which the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 19-1 -- wins were rare for them in their early years, never mind blowout wins -- a fan, unable to watch or listen to the game because he was at work, called up one of the New York newspapers (no Internet in those days) and asked how the Mets did. He was told, "Great, they scored 19 runs!" And the fan, who knew his Mets, asked, "Did they win?"

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Last night, Brett Gardner continued his hot hitting by leading off the game with a home run, his 13th of the season. But the Rangers tagged Brandon McCarthy for 4 runs, and led 4-1 after 5.

Then came the 6th inning, perhaps the best Yankee inning of the season so far. Gardner led off again, off Ranger starter Nick Martinez, and doubled to right. Jeter beat out an infield singled. Jacoby Ellsbury popped up, but a wild pitch moved Gardner to 3rd and Jeter to 2nd.

Mark Teixeira returned from injury, and drew a walk to load the bases. Carlos Beltran singled Gardy and the Captain home. 4-3 Rangers. Brian McCann hit a sacrifice fly to get Teix home. Tie game. Chase Headley drew a walk.

That was enough for Ranger manager Ron Washington, as he brought Shawn Tolleson in to relieve Martinez. But Zoilo Amonte, back from the minors, singled home Beltran to give the Yankees the lead. Brendan Ryan, who's been completely unreliable with the bat, doubled home Headley and Almonte. 7-4. Yankees. The Yanks had batted around, and Gardner came up again, and reached on an error. 8-4. Yankees.

The Yankees scored twice more in the 7th, and it was 10-4 Yankees. Surely, the Yankees weren't going to blow a 6-run lead with 9 outs to go.

J.P. Arencibia hit his 2nd home run of the game, a grand slam off Dellin Betances after Adam Warren loaded the bases. 10-8 Yankees.

Teixeira sent a Teix Message in the top of the 8th (18 homers in July is pretty good for a player who's been injured), and that made it 12-8 Yankees. Surely, the Yankees weren't going to blow an 4-run lead with 6 outs to go.

The Rangers closed to within 12-9 in the bottom of the 8th. Surely, the Yankees weren't going to blow a 3-run lead with 3 outs to go.

David Robertson came in to close it out. The first batter he faced was Arencibia. D-Rob struck him out.

But Leonys Martin singled. Robinson Chirinos walked, and was replaced by pinch-runner Daniel Robertson. Now the tying run was at the plate.

Rougned Odor grounded out to move the runners over. Shin-Soo Choo walked to load the bases. Now the tying run was on 1st, and the winning run was at the plate.

Elvis Andrus singled home Martin and Robertson. 12-11. Now the tying run was at 2nd, and the winning run was on 1st. And Joe Girardi had already used Warren, Betances and Chase Whitley. And who's left in the bullpen that would inspire confidence in a Yankee Fan? Nobody. Girardi was going to live or die with Robertson.

Robertson walked Alex Rios. Bases loaded. Now the tying run was at 3rd, the winning run at 2nd. Good thing there were 2 outs. Just 1 out to go. So near, and yet so far away.

That home run that Beltre had hit earlier? It was the 391st of his career. That's 1 more than Graig Nettles, 2 more than Johnny Bench. More than Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Johnny Mize, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Frank Howard and Dick Allen. And only a few less than Dale Murphy, Al Kaline and Duke Snider.

It was the 2,541st hit of his career. That's more than anyone has had in a Yankee uniform aside from Jeter, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

And all he needed to at least tie the game, and probably win it, was a single.

I remembered the Yankee game of May 16, 2006. Playing at the old Stadium, they fell behind the Rangers 9-0 and 10-1, stormed back to 12-12 after 7, and trailed 13-12 in the bottom of the 9th, and won it 14-13 on a home run by Jorge Posada.

Could this game be the Rangers' revenge for that, as the 2010 American League Championship Series was their revenge for beating them in the Division Series of 1996, '98 and '99?

A big chunk of the Yankee section of the Twitterverse was saying this would be the worst Yankee loss of the season. Some were saying that, even if we held on, it would feel like a loss. I have to admit, if you score 12 runs, and the game is still in doubt with 1 out to go, you shouldn't brag about it.

Beltre hit a long fly ball to left field. Some of us were sure it was another grand slam.

Gardner stood on the warning track, and hauled it in. Ballgame over. Yankees win. Theeee Yankees win... barely.

WP: McCarthy (3-0). SV: Robertson (27). LP: Martinez (1-7).

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The series with the Rangers concludes tonight. The starting pitchers are Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees, and Colby Lewis for the Rangers.

Tomorrow is a travel day, and then comes the weekend series against the Boston Red Scum.

Meanwhile, right now, Yankee Stadium is hosting a preseason "friendly" between 2 of England's biggest soccer teams, Liverpool and Manchester City.

The Yankee Stadium Bleachers are probably the closest thing in American sports to The Kop at Liverpool's historic Anfield.

Fenway's bleachers? Considering the Fenway animals, it's more like the Stretford End at Manchester United's Old Trafford.

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