Game 53: NYY vs. SEA — Extra innings lead to a Charming Cinderella story

So it’s the last night game on this West Coast trip (and 2nd to last game before they head back to New York), and what do they do to prolong it? Why, send the game into extra innings, of course! Let me just say that I’m really glad the Yankees won tonight’s game or my lack of sleep added to a severe disappointment of a loss would not be as positive as I try to be on this blog.

But they won, so we’re all good.

And here’s what happened…

So it was CC Sabathia to the mound tonight. He would throw 94 pitches over his 5.2 innings, give up 9 hits and 2 walks, be charged with both runs, and stuck out 6 Mariners’ batters during his tenure tonight. In the 3rd, Seattle got on the board after 2 singles had runners on the corners and 2 outs on the board, another single scored the runner from 3rd.

Sabathia did struggle some again tonight, but he was able to pitch his way out of some sticky situations. But in the 6th, as his pitch count crept higher, with a near-repeat of the situation in the 3rd, the Yankees pulled Sabathia to start diving into their bullpen. David Carpenter gave up an double before getting out of the 6th inning.

In the mean time, the Yankees were held off from doing much because of the sharp outing by a rookie pitcher making his ML debut tonight. I think he’s got a decent future. I mean, his numbers were better than veteran pitcher Sabathia tonight. He gave up a lone run to the Yankees in the 3rd inning.

And because it’s the Yankees, the way that run scored had to be sprinkled with a bit of dramatics. Brett Gardner walked and stole 2nd on a wild pitch, and 2 outs were on the board before Rodriguez too earned himself a walk. Both walks were earned on a checked swing that the umpires declared did not cross the plate and thus officially not a swinging strike. In all honesty here: Gardner’s swing crossed, but Rodriguez’s did not; and both knew it. But after Rodriguez trotted his way down to 1st on the call, both the Mariners’ catcher and manager argued with the umpires and were promptly ejected; the M’s manager was rather reminiscent of Earl Weaver in his animated display en route back to the clubhouse.

Anyway, this turned out to work in the Yankees’ favor as Mark Teixeira’s double easily scored Gardner from 2nd to put the Yankees on the board. And so the game sat at a 2-1 Mariners’ lead score until that 9th inning. Relievers Shreve and Lindgren took the 7th and 8th innings, keeping the score planted there to wait for that elusive Yankee rally.

In the 9th, the Yankees faced a familiar foe, the former Rays’ closer, looking to shut down the Yankees and hand-deliver the win to the Mariners. But it was not to be. Headley led-off the inning with a walk, and with 2 outs following him, it was down to McCann (pinch-hitting for Murphy, who started to give McCann a rest before tomorrow afternoon’s game). McCann’s single kept hope alive and moved Headley to 3rd. It was all down to Stephen Drew, who proceeded to double home Headley to tie up the game.

Dellin Betances would send the game into extra innings, and you could collectively hear the groans from the East Coast (or maybe that was just me). Honestly, it was Justin Wilson’s outing in the 10th that was the most stand-out to me, on the account of his wicked defense when it comes to keeping the game under control — a diving stop and toss to get a double play. Plus he earned the well-deserved win for tonight’s game.

Wilson was thus on the mound when the Yankees finally mounted a successful rally in the 11th inning. Hope that followed a single was quashed by a double play, but Drew’s single and Gardner’s double reignited that hope. And sent the Mariners scrambling for a new pitcher, who then gave up a monster 3-run home run to Garrett Jones (in for Beltran after he took a ball off his foot, just bruised, x-rays negative).

And time to send in the closer Andrew Miller, who was ready to jump in the moment Jones hit that ball over the center field fence. Miller had his own issues — 2 outs and 2 runners on base with a single and hit-by-pitch put both teams in a precarious position. Another single scored one run, but a big strike out to one of the M’s biggest hitters closed it out and left the runners stranded.

Though you wouldn’t know it just by the post here, both Drew and Jones have struggled in the batter’s box recently, so the fact that they both played a huge role in the winning of tonight’s game is phenomenal. Yogi used to say that he wasn’t in a slump, he just “wasn’t hitting”. So forget the slump, they just started hitting again. And the Yankees really needed it.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees

Injury update (all good news): Jacoby Ellsbury is looking at a late June return; after his brace is removed and he is re-evaluated by his doctor, he’ll face 10 days working his way back up to baseball activities and then onto a Minor League rehab assignment.

Brendan Ryan just moved a step closer to his return. He’s been working on some extended Spring games in Tampa, but is now on his way to join the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team for his official rehab assignment. His return will hopefully spark the defense that seems to be flailing a bit as of late.

Ivan Nova is finishing up his last steps of recovery from Tommy John surgery last year. He was also in Tampa in extended Spring Training games and will probably work his way through the farm system a bit before being declared fit for the big roster return. However, if all goes well, a late June return is entire possible for him as well.

And Masahiro Tanaka will be officially back tomorrow to start the game. The corresponding roster move is coming tomorrow, and a bullpen move is most likely to bring that number down to 25 on their active roster.

One more game in Seattle tomorrow before the Yankees head across the country and back to the Bronx. And tomorrow they’re looking for the sweep.

Go Yankees!

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