Friday, August 9, 2013

NEW YORK -- Friday marked the long awaited return of Alex Rodriguez to the Bronx, but by the end of the night, A-Rod was just a simple footnote on the side of Mariano Rivera's blown save in the 9th, and Brett Gardner's walk-off single in the 10th, snapping the Yanks 5-game losing skid.

"Well, I hope it jump-starts it a lot," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We need to win series. We need to win a lot of games moving forward."

Yankees starter Ivan Nova kept the Tigers hot bats quiet throughout the night, holding down the Tigers for just one-run over seven innings.

Nova lived on the edge all throughout the night, putting himself into in three of the first four innings, escaping a bases loaded jam with two big strikeouts in the first, and got out of the 3rd inning unharmed after the Tigers put runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs in the second inning.

In seven inning of work, Nova only gave up one, coming in the 7th inning on an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera of all people, putting the Tigers on the board. The one run came off eight hits and a walk, while also striking out seven on 97 pitches.

"I've been pitching really good," Nova said. "I've been feeling really good with all of my pitches, working both sides of the plate to righties and lefties, and getting quick outs."

The biggest problem that's Nova has been facing over his last few starts was the lack of run support the Yankees have been giving him, but that wouldn't be a problem in this one as the Yanks jumped out to a 3-0 lead early, giving Nova the supports he's been looking for.

Gardner and Ichiro lead off the bottom of the first by reaching first and second, then Robinson Cano moved them over on a groundout to second base. Alfonso Soriano brought home Gardner on a groundout to third base.

Both Gardner and Ichiro single to get on base to open the 3rd inning, but this time, Cano lined a double into the left-center field gap, bringing home Gardner and Ichiro all the way around from first, as Cano advanced to third on the throw home, pushing the Yankees lead to 3-0.

As mentioned, A-Rod took the field at Yankee Stadium for the first time since the 2009 ALCS against the Tigers. Coming to the plate to about 50/50 cheers and boos in his first at-bat, that numbers of boos raised quickly as A-Rod went 0-for-4 with three strikeout's on the night.

Coming into the game with a 3-1 lead in the 8th, David Robertson came entered to hold things down for his usual 8th inning appearance, shutting down the Tigers in order on 12 pitches.

As the rulebook state, when leading by three runs or less, Mariano Rivera will be called upon to record the final three outs of a ballgame, but for the second straight game, Rivera and the Yankees were within a strike away from winning the game, before Rivera blew the save once again.

Mo started the inning by getting Don Kelley to fly out to center, then Austin Jackson doubled into the left field gap. Torii Hunter was the next hitter and he shot a ball back up the middle that was miraculously stopped by Mariano, retiring Hunter for the second out of the inning.

With one out to go, Mariano was pitted into a battle against the games best hitter, Miguel Cabrera, for an at-bat no one will forget. Lyle Overbay came within inches of ending the game, reaching over the railing in the first base dugout, just barely missing that popup that could have ended things.

"It almost cost us the game," Overbay said

But a couple of pitches later, just one strike away, Cabrera, after just fouling a pitch off his knee and the next off his shin, launched  his 34th homerun of the year to deep center field, landing on the netting that cover Monument Park, tying the game, and blowing Mariano's fourth save attempt of the year.

"Cabrera put a tough at-bat on him. Fouled a bunch of pitches off. Fouled it off his knee. Fouled it off his foot. He did a good job of getting two strikes. He just couldn't put him away," Girardi said.

Luckily, though, the Yankees were able to put up a fight in the bottom of the 10th. Jayson Nix walked to open the frame, then Curtis Granderson singled to right field, setting up 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Overbay struck out swinging on a wild pitch that advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd with one away.

Girardi could have made a move to the bench with Chris Stewart coming up, but he elected to let his catcher hit and strike out looking to end a bad at-bat. Then came Gardner with the bases load and he slapped a groundball single past a diving Cabrera to score Nix and give the Yankees a 4-3 victory.

"It's good to pick [Rivera] up like that," Gardner said. "He probably won't do it again the rest of the season. He'll probably reel off 15, 20 straight until the end of September."

It was a much needed win that snapped a four-game losing skid and also ended the Tigers 12-game winning streak, and overall, the win kept the Yankees from suffering another tough loss.

"We haven't been playing good baseball the past couple of months, and sometimes you've got to keep winning or you'll be out of it," Gardner said. "I think everybody in this room kind of feels the same way. We have to come in every day and work hard and really focus on one thing, and that's grinding out a win."

Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter.


Post a Comment