(Brett Gardner, clutch hitter. Courtesy of Getty Images)
Well how about them apples, eh? After dipping into the "blown save/walk-off win" well on Friday night to start this series, the Yankees decided to take a dive in it again on Sunday to close out the series. In a game that was an exercise in head scratching - Andy Pettitte only making it through 4.1 innings despite allowing only a run, A-Rod actually hitting RHP, Austin Jackson forgetting how to run the bases, Mo blowing more saves - the Yankees somehow managed to come out on the winning side and get their first series win since early July. If you missed it, you picked the wrong Sunday to make other plans.
- So yeah, Andy. He was magician out there yesterday, the kind of one who has no real stage show to impress you but pulls off some neat tricks. He gave up his lone run on 3 hits and a walk in the top of the 1st, and stranded 5 runners through the next 3 innings to keep it at 1.
- He didn't have to wait long to get some run support and it came in a big way from Alex Rodriguez, who yanked a Justin Verlander fastball on the inner half over the left field fence to tie it at 1. An Eduardo Nunezx sac fly a few batters later gave New York the lead.
- A-Rod extended that lead with a ribbie single in the 3rd, and Alfonso Soriano added to it in the 4th with another lead off home run, reaching the 2,000 career hits milestone in the process. Definitely worth saving that ball.
- Andy loaded the bases with 1 out in the top of the 5th and Joe went to his bullpen to preserve the lead. It was the right move given how hard Andy had to work (102 pitches) and it worked out perfectly as Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan each tossed scoreless 1.1-inning appearances to get to the 8th.
- David Robertson came on for the 8th and immediately gave up a solo HR to make it 4-2. With 1 on and 1 out, he looked like he was going to give up another on a Torii Hunter deep drive until Brett Gardner made a great catch and turned an inning-ending double play thanks to Jackson's brain fart on the basepaths.
- Handed that bit of good luck, Mo couldn't do the job in the 9th, giving up 2 solo HR to Miguel Cabrera (again) and Victor Martinez to tie the game. 3 straight blown saves.
- Didn't need extras to fix that mistake this time. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, Gardner was looking to swing big in a 1-0 fastball count. He got one right down the middle from Jose Veras and crushed it into the second deck in right for his second walk-off hit in 3 days.
- A-Rod: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 LOB. Hit his first homer of the season, drove in another run with the single, and continued to look pretty good all around in his best game yet. We're almost certainly looking at the final 40ish games of A-Rod's career. It's going to be fascinating to watch how it plays out either way.
- Gardner: 1-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 LOB. Turned a bad day at the plate into a great one with 1 swing in the 9th. That at-bat was the perfect example of the different approach Gardner has taken with his offense this season. I doubt he would have swung like that 2 years ago.
- Mo: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BS. Third straight blown save for the first time in his illustrious career and it came on 2 pitches. A lot of the other pitches Mo threw were pretty good. He just missed bad with 2 and got beat on it.
The Yanks will stay put as the Angels come to town for a 4-game series. Hiroki Kuroda and Garrett Richards are the starting pitchers for tonight's first game.