I'll cover the Yankees' weekend home series with the Chicago White Sox in this post, and the subsequent games in the next one.
On Friday night, the opposing starters were Shane Greene for the Pinstripes, and John Danks for the Pale House. Neither pitched especially well, neither got an out in the 6th inning, and neither figured in the decision.
Martin Prado hit a home run for the Yankees, his 8th of the season. But, going to the bottom of the 9th, this game was all tied up.
Ichiro Suzuki led off with a hit. Brett Gardner bunted him over to 2nd base. Up to bat, Captain Clutch, Derek Jeter.
Except he hit a very unclutch soft liner to the center fielder, the starter's brother, Jordan Danks. And Jacoby Ellsbury was intentionally walked to set up the double play.
But Mark Teixeira drew a most unintentional walk, loading the bases. And Prado came up again, and singled Ichiro home.
Yankees 4, White Sox 3. WP: David Robertson (2-4). No save. LP: Daniel Webb (5-4).
Yankee broadcaster John Sterling called the night's hero "The Prado the Yankees," a play on one of Lou Gehrig's nickname, the one that became the title of the movie about him, The Pride of the Yankees.
As his broadcast partner, Suzyn Waldman, would say, "Oh my goodness, goodness gracious."
Saturday afternoon was Joe Torre Day. The former manager got his Number 6 retired, and his Plaque for Monument Park. It reads as follows:
JOSEPH PAUL TORRE
NEW YORK YANKEES MANAGER, 1996-2007
WORLD CHAMPIONS, 1996, 1998-2000
A.L. PENNANTS, 1996, 1998-2000, 2001, 2003
HIS CALM APPROACH AND DIGNIFIED MANNER
PROVIDED THE FOUNDATION OF ONE OF THE
MOST SUCCESSFUL ERAS IN FRANCHISE HISTORY.
MANAGED THE YANKEES TO A
1,173-767-2 REGULAR SEASON RECORD
AND 76-47 POSTSEASON MARK,
LEADING THE CLUB TO THE PLAYOFFS
IN EACH OF HIS 12 SEASONS AT THE HELM.
IN 1998, GUIDED THE TEAM TO 125 TOTAL
VICTORIES, THE MOST SINGLE-SEASON WINS
BY ANY TEAM ALL TIME.
DEDICATED BY THE
NEW YORK YANKEES
AUGUST 23, 2014
On hand were Yogi Berra, Gene Michael, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, and many of Torre's players: Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, David Cone, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, and, of course, current manager Joe Girardi and Derek Jeter. Oddly, Mariano Rivera was not there; without him, as Yogi would say, Joe couldn't have thanked everyone for making this day necessary.
Also on hand were Joe's wife Allie, his children (most from his first marriage, but a daughter from his second), his grandchildren, and Soot Zimmer, Don's widow. Mel Stottlemyre sent a video message. (I'm a little concerned that he wasn't there: He didn't look ill, but he has battled cancer before.)
Joe's speech was long, but thoughtful, and hit all the right notes. Among the things he said was gratitude to George Steinbrenner for hiring him. Among the things he didn't say was that George need him as much as he needed George: Without each other, each man's legacy would be very different. George might still be the guy who built a Dynasty and let it fall apart, and the Yankees might still be without a title since 1978. Joe might still be a really good, but not quite Hall of Fame level, player, and a good but not great manager whose uniformed career ended a while ago, without ever winning a Pennant. Instead, together, along with Stick Michael, they built a new Dynasty.
Oh yes, there was a game. Hiroki Kuroda started for the Yankees, and he had good stuff. Carlos Beltran hit his 15th homer of the season in the 6th inning. No late heroics necessary this time.
Yankees 5, White Sox 3. WP: Kuroda (9-8). SV: Robertson (34). LP: Scott Carroll (5-8).
On Sunday afternoon, late heroics would be necessary. Chris Capuano started against ChiSox ace Chris Sale, so I was convinced a defeat was coming.
Instead, Capuano pitched decently, and Sale didn't have his best stuff. It was 4-3 Yanks going into the 9th, and it looked like we had the sweep. But Robertson decided he wanted a Tony Award, and gave us some drama. He blew the save.
So the game went to extra innings. David Huff pitched a scoreless 10th. The Yankees got 2 men on, and Girardi sent Brian McCann up to pinch-hit for Francisco Cervelli. (Had the game continued, McCann would also have taken Cervelli's place behind the plate.) Replacing a .278 hitter with a .235 hitter, albeit one with power. McCann had 14 home runs on the season.
Make it 15. McCann did, sending a screaming liner to the right-field corner. A true short-porcher. Sterling didn't even have time to go into, "It is high! It is far!" before realizing it was gone. Game-winning home run.
Yankees 7, White Sox 4. WP: Huff (4-1). No save. LP: Jake Petricka (0-3).
So the Yankees had now won 4 straight, and headed off on a roadtrip. I'll discuss that in my next post.