I think it’s only fitting for my 100th post on this blog to be a Yankees come-from-behind win at home tonight. Plus, we got to witness the return of Curtis Granderson coming off his 11-week recovery from a fractured forearm back on February 24th (the 2nd game of Spring Training. Honestly, they said it would take him 10 weeks before being back in baseball. And he came straight in from 5 games with the AAA affiliate in Scranton yesterday, so their recovery and rehab timetable was really accurate. Not only does that say a lot for the doctors and trainers, but it also says the Granderson worked hard at getting back at the right pace. His offensive contribution was a walk and run scored, but it was really his defense (tonight in left field) that really was put to the test and excellent once again.
It was a battle of the aces tonight with the Yankees behind CC Sabathia and the Mariners putting up their “King” Felix Hernandez. Sabathia struck out 10 batters and walked 2, but he allowed 10 hits (1 was a home run) over his 6.1 innings, which is a bit unusual for him. Hernandez’s numbers were about the same, except he only allowed 5 hits. This goes to show how the Yankees defense certainly protected further runs from being scored once again. In fact, the Yankees were technically out-hit by the Mariners, but again getting a strikeout or keeping the runners from advancing on fly balls or fielding plays is really a tribute to good team defense, like this unassisted double play by Jayson Nix in the 8th. Sabathia, however, did not earn the win; that went to Shawn Kelley who was brought in to finish the 7th inning. Robertson set-up the 8th for the great closer Mariano Rivera to earn his 16th save this year. That career total of his is just climbing.
Seattle struck first with an RBI double in the 3rd and a 2-run home run out to right field by former Yankee Raul Ibanez in the 6th, making it 3-0 Mariners. The Yankees response was slow — a Lyle Overbay double to score Granderson in the bottom of the 6th. And then once again, the Yankees found an offensive hole in the 7th inning. A single and stolen base and a walk set up Robinson Cano for a 2-RBI double to tie the game. A walk and an intentional walk to load the bases was all that Overbay needed to get a sacrifice fly to score Cano to put the final score at 4-3 Yankees.
There were some moments of drama tonight with regards to Hernandez. In the 4th inning, Hernandez goes to cover 1st base on a short grounder hit by Overbay. But the 1st baseman already has it covered and in fact makes the out pretty easily. But Hernandez somehow doesn’t realize that Overbay is running at full speed down the baseline and that Hernandez is standing right in front of the base on the baseline. So when Overbay goes in for the base, Hernandez realizes too late that he’s in the way and Overbay’s knee jams into the back of Hernandez’s knee as Overbay goes tumbling over the bag down the line. Both are physically okay, but Overbay is later given the base because of player interference, even though the play should have been an easy out (and technically was).
In the 6th inning, Granderson grounds into a force out at 2nd, which Hernandez picks up the dribbling ball and throws it to 2nd to get the runner (Cano), but then seems to be in pain walking around the mound a bit. Following a brief visit by the Mariners’ manager and trainer, the show goes on and he finishes the inning. The video here shows both issues.
In other news, Mark Teixeira hosted Prince Harry at his Harlem RBI field. The prince apparently spent the day earlier touring some of the damage from Hurricane Sandy with New Jersey Governor Christie and took some time this afternoon to see how the refurbishing of the fields damaged by Sandy were coming along, even playing coach to some of the local teams. Also, Travis Hafner is scheduled for an MRI on his shoulder that didn’t feel right today. Hopefully, nothing is wrong and it’s just stiff from all the recent work. We just got someone off the DL, and it’s not an exchange program.
Stay healthy, everyone! It’s good to be in 1st place.