(Throw your motherf*ckin' hands up!! Courtesy of The AP)
It was the final game of this series, it was the first afternoon game of this series, and it was the first time there was crummy weather for the series. There's been tension building on the Yankees' side since Monday, tension caused by some questionable umpiring in their eyes, some HBP shenanigans on Wednesday, and the team's continued inability to make things easy on themselves. The way Wednesday night's win went down probably didn't do much to ease that tension, and add that to the tension built up from the past 3 weeks and it was bound to come to a head at some point. It came to that head in the bottom of the 5th yesterday afternoon, and it came to a head in a big way.
- The Yankees kept their recent string of getting big 2-out hits going in the top of the 2nd, when Raul Ibanez tripled to center to score Eric Chavez and Ichiro followed up with an RBI single to score Ibanez to make it 2-0 New York.
- Hiroki Kuroda worked through the first 4 innings scoreless, and he looked sharper than he was his last time out. He got some help on some bad baserunning by Miguel Cabrera in the 1st, and a "strike 'em out/throw 'em out" DP in the 3rd, but he was solid.
- Kuroda's 1 bad inning was the bottom of the 5th, and it was made worse by a very bad umpiring call by Tim Welke. After giving up a double and 2-run HR to Alex Avila to tie the game, Kuroda sandwiched 2 GB outs around, you guessed it, an infield single. Then the fireworks began...
- Andy Dirks hit a bloop down the left field line that Welke initially signaled foul. Replays later showed that the ball DID hit chalk and was fair, but Ibanez checked up after seeing Welke's initial call and then had to scramble to chase after the ball when Welke changed the call to fair, which allowed a run to come around and score.
- Joe came out to argue, was told by Welke that Welke was "too quick" on his initial call, and then just lost it. He yelled, he screamed, he got tossed, he yelled some more, he gestured, he ranted, he raved, he tried to protest the game, he threw his hat, and when he did finally leave the field he made an over-dramatized "fair/foul" signal while point to the line. It was easily Joe's greatest blow-up in his Yankee tenure.
- It didn't do much to spark the Yankees, though, until the 8th inning rolled around. Mark Teixeira got a belt-high 2-0 fastball from Joaquin Benoit that he crushed to right for a game-tying HR, and on the very next pitch Chavez took one the other way and over the wall for the go-ahead HR.
- With D-Rob out, David Phelps and Clay Rapada had to handle the Tiger order in the 7th and 8th, and after putting runners on the corners with 0 outs, Rafael Soriano retired the next 3 in a row to preserve a dramatic win.
- Ibanez: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. A triple for Ibanez seems almost out of the question given his lack of speed, but I watched the replay and it was legit. He seems like he's starting to come around again offensively without the burden of playing left field 5 days a week.
- Chavez: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. The guy is on an absolute tear right now, and as long as he's going to hit like this he should be hitting up in the lineup. That's one move I can't fault Joe for.
- Nick Swisher: 0-5, 2 K, 3 LOB. Tough day for Swish. He couldn't get any BABIP luck on a couple of lineouts early, and he struck out with 2 outs and a runner on third in the 7th.
The Bombers will travel from Detroit to Toronto for a 3-game AL East weekend series with the Jays that kicks off tonight with a battle of the .500 pitchers, Freddy Garcia vs. Ricky Romero.