Home runs, strong pitching, walk off wins, and whipped cream facials have been the mark of ball games played at the new Yankee Stadium this season. Last night’s game with the Chicago White Sox was right out of the 2009 playbook. Robinson Cano crushed a 3-run home run in the bottom of 10th inning to give the Yankees a 5-2 victory and made Cano the recipient of pie ala Burnett.
Left-hander Randy Williams struck out Mark Teixeira and then got some help from the wind as Alex Rodriguez‘ deep fly to center died short of the warning track. But Williams walked Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher, setting up a showdown with Cano, who had been hitless in four at-bats on the night. After working a 2-2 count, Cano launched a Williams fastball into the Yankees bullpen for the team’s 11th walk-off win of the season. The strong winds had no chance to play a factor since the ball more of a line drive than fly ball. Brian Bruney worked a scoreless top of the 10th to improve to 4-0.
CC Sabathia had given the Yankees a dominant outing, striking out 10 batters through six innings. But the big man, protecting a 2-0 lead built on home runs by Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon, ran into trouble in the 7th. If not for some key defensive plays, Sabathia may very well have left the game with the Yankees trailing.
Jermaine Dye started the 7th with a double and Sabathia issued his first walk of the game, putting Carlos Quentin aboard. Alex Rios‘ double to right cut the Yankees lead in half and put the tying and go ahead runs in scoring position. One out later, Sabathia induced a ground ball by Ramon Castro. Quentin, running on contact, was easily gunned down at the plate by Rodriguez. The Yankees third baseman then made a huge play, diving into foul territory to snare Jayson Nix‘ fair ball that barely went over the third base bag. Though he had no play to make, A-Rod’s stop prevented not only a run from scoring, but a bigger inning from occurring.
Gordon Beckham lined a game tying single to right, but Nick Swisher came up with, arguably, his best throw of the season- a one-hopper to Jose Molina, who thrust his right leg out to block the plate and tagged out his White Sox counterpart Castro for the inning’s final out.
Derek Jeter hit his 22nd lead off home run, putting in him sole possession of second place on the career franchise list. He’s just two home runs behind Rickey Henderson for the #1 spot. The home run was also the 223rd of his career, pushing him past Don Mattingly for 10th place on the team’s career list. The home run was his lone hit, and number 2,705, 16 behind Lou Gehrig.
CC Sabathia finished August 5-0, 2.64 and is 7-1, 2.95 since the All-Star break.
*This post was written by Drew Sarver of My Pinstripes*