Thursday, May 27, 2010

Behind Solid Pitching Yanks Take Two From Twins

(Photos from the AP and Getty)

Both games weren't perfect, but the Yankees were able to finish off the Twins in the completion of the suspended game 1-0, and then won the regularly scheduled game 3-2.

Nearly 24 hours after A.J. Burnett tossed five scoreless inning, Derek Jeter finally gave him a lead when he hit a long solo homer off Brian Duensing to make it 1-0 Yanks.

Jeter also saved the Yanks a couple runs in the bottom half of the inning. David Robertson was pitching and the Twins had runners on second and third with two out with Delmon Young at the plate. Young hit a grounder to Jeter's right, he fielded it deep in the hole and then made his patented jump throw to first to get Young by a few steps.

Robertson would stay on for a couple outs in the seventh before being replaced by Joba Chamberlain. He got the one out he needed in the seventh and then working into and out of trouble in a scoreless eighth to hand the ball to Mo.

Like many fans at home in front of their TVs, Mariano Rivera thought he gave up the lead when the first batter of the ninth, J.J. Hardy, hammered a cutter deep to left-center. Luckily, they were playing in the American League version of Citi Field, and somehow that ball stayed in the yard and was tracked down by Kevin Russo. Mo would then walk Jim Thome before getting Denard Span to bang into a game-ending double play.


Andy Pettitte was the story in game two, as he held the Twins to just two runs on eight hits over eight innings pitched. He also did not walk a batter and struck out four.

Minnesota jumped out to an early lead with a run in the first. Span led off the game with a double and would later score on a single by Joe Mauer.

The score would stay 1-0 until the top of the fourth. Robinson Cano started the inning with a single. After a pop out by Marcus Thames, Francisco Cervelli hit what looked like an inning-ending DP, but Orlando Hudson took a little too much time getting rid of the ball and the hustling Cervelli beat the return throw to first. This was huge because the next batter, Kevin Russo, lined a double down the left field line and Cervelli scored from first.

Andy, who had allowed at least one hit in each of the first four innings was about to settle into a grove and at one point retired eight in a row. While that was going on the Yankees took the lead with a run in the sixth. Russo stared things off with a two-out single, and then Brett Gardner brought him home with a triple into the right field corner.

The Twins were able to get to Pettitte in the seventh. Michael Cuddyer singled with one out and then the next batter, Delmon Young, launched a doubled off the centerfield wall to drive him in. The pitch to Young, an 0-2 cutter down the heart of the plate, was Pettitte's one major mistake of the game. He got out of the inning without allowing another run, but would find some more trouble in the eighth.

Drew Butera started the inning with a double. The ball should have been caught by Gardner in center, but when he lunged for the ball it hit his glove and bounced out. Andy was let down by his defense once again on the next play.

Span laid down a sac bunt to move the runner to third, but the Yankees had the wheel play on. That's when Jeter runs to third while A-Rod charges the bunt, with the main goal getting the out at third. Everything looked good from the start, but A-Rod was a little too aggressive and instead of fielding the ball, he knocked it into foul territory and both runners were safe. Orlando Hudson was up next, and lined a ball back to Pettitte for the first out. Then, after falling behind 3-1 to the dangerous Joe Mauer, Pettitte made his perfect pitch--a cutter on the outside corner that Mauer hit on the ground to Jeter. Jeter flipped it to Cano who fired to first and Andy had escaped the jam. Andy was as pumped as anyone as he watch that ball go around the infield and let out a huge fist pump when the ball reached Teixeira's glove.

With two out in the top of the ninth, Nick Swisher would induce some more fist pumps. He absolutely destroyed a John Rauch changeup, sending it deep into the seats in right for a solo homer. It was a little redemption for Nick, who earlier in the game had failed to move Derek Jeter to third after a led off double.

With 94 pitches and Mo being used in the first game I thought Andy was going to finish this one off, but Girardi surprisingly called on Mo once again. He's been pretty shaky lately, but seemed to shake off whatever was bothering him, because he set down Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young on 11 pitches for his tenth save.

Neither game was what you would call a perfect win. The Yanks are still struggling with men on based and went a combined 0-for-14 with RISP over both games, but because of the great pitching they got they were able to come away with two wins.

Javier Vazquez will take the mound as the Yanks go for the sweep tonight at Target Field. Nick Blackburn will get the ball for the Twins. First pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. and the game will be on YES.

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