After a bad outing on Saturday against the Rays, people started to speculate that Mariano Rivera was losing it.
After two straight saves against the Rays, Mariano Rivera is who he is, the most dominant closer in the history of the game. With his 14th save of the year, Mo mowed down the three hitters he faced in preserving Andy Pettitte’s sixth win of the season, with a 5-3 win over the Rays.
Andy Pettitte started tonight and was good for three innings, striking out seven batters in six frames, and he allowed five hits and three runs. Mo and Petts have combined for 59 wins/saves, stretching their MLB record.
The Yanks got on the board first in the first inning with a solo shot by Mark Teixeira, followed by a two-run by Nick “Swish-Hawk” Swisher in the second to give the Yanks a 3-0 lead they would keep until the fourth inning.
Pettitte started to lose it a bit in the fourth. It started with an A-Rod error, allowing Ben Zobrist to reach base, and he later scored on a Michel Hernandez single to center. Gabe Kapler homered the next at-bat and scored Hernandez to tie the game 3-all. Pettitte settled down in the fifth, but not without walking Evan Longoria. Derek Jeter closed the fifth with an acrobatic double play to end the inning. Petts had a 1-2-3 sixth inning before Phil Hughes came in for one frame, throwing eleven pitches, seven for strikes and striking out one. He did not come back in, giving away to Phil Coke, who threw two more pitches than Hughes did, while walking one and striking out none.
Rivera closed out the ninth with a strikeout of BJ Upton.
Johnny Damon gave the Yankees the lead again with a solo shot to the right field porch in the sixth and Derek Jeter broke out of his slump with his eighth homer of the year in the eighth inning to make it 5-3.
Hideki Matsui continued to be an offense liability, going 0 for his last 16 at-bats. He can’t seem to run that fast, barely running the bases between first and second, meekly accepting the double play.
Jorge Posada, A-Rod, and Melky Cabrera all went o-for tonight, and it was Double-Play-Rod tonight in the eigth. A-Rod cannot seem to get some clutch hitting going on.
With the Yankees heading to Boston tonight, they are on a good stretch of winning games and it is time for the Yankees to pull together some good baseball from the first to ninth hitters and give their starters room to breath. A-Rod was not in the lineup the first five games between the two rivals, and that figures into this series, especially with the now-famous David Ortiz slump.
Overall, the Yankees played good game tonight, with some things they need to work on. It’ll be AJ Burnett against Josh Beckett (again) tomorrow at 7:10pm.