Despite getting shutdown by some of the top young pitchers in the AL East in Brett Cecil, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta the last three days, the Yankees seemed like a pretty good bet to not only beat Brad Bergesen up, but to ensure that they would avoid their first four-game losing streak of the season, not to mention the first time being swept by an opponent in 2010. And speaking of betting, be sure to check out BetUS, one of the top sports betting sites around.
However, Bergesen and the Orioles apparently had other plans, as their significantly below-league-average righty tossed one of his best starts of the season, holding the Yankees to an anemic one run on four hits through 6 1/3 innings. I suppose Bergesen's strong outing shouldn't have been that much of a surprise, as I did note his 2.81 ERA over the last month in the series preview. Although that number was likely inflated due to a complete game against the Indians and another strong start against the lowly Angels, and it really shouldn't have been unreasonable to expect the Yankees to tee off on a pitcher of Bergesen's caliber.
As Bergesen began to tire in the seventh, Mark Hendrickson came on in relief and easily struck Lance Berkman -- batting from the right side -- out. Many were puzzled as to why Joe Girardi didn't opt for Marcus Thames in that scenario. Even stranger, Girardi brought Thames in after Berkman's at-bat to pinch-hit for Curtis Granderson, prompting Buck Showalter to go to righty Jim Johnson. Thames still managed to pick up a hit, putting runners on first and third for the Yanks, but Johnson easily disposed of offensive black hole Francisco Cervelli for the third out.
Just when it appeared all hope was lost, things finally came to a head in the bottom of the ninth, as Buck went to his closer, Koji Uehara. Alex Rodriguez singled on a first-pitch fastball, part of a 2-4 day for A-Rod. Robinson Cano followed with a flyout to center, bringing Nick Swisher to the plate.
After Uehara started Swish off with two straight balls, I think everyone and their mother had a feeling something big was about to happen, and happen it did, as Swish blasted the game-winning two-run walk-off homer to crush the Orioles' hopes of a sweep. The 3-2 victory was the Yankees' fourth walk-off win of the season, and certainly ensured a happy flight to Texas.
Lost amid the walk-off dramatics was another effective outing from Ivan Nova, who went a career-high six innings while only giving up two runs, a two-run homer to Matt Wieters. On most days, that'll more than enough for the Yankees to pull out a win. Amazingly, Brian Roberts only had one hit and didn't score any runs.
And so for the second time this season I had a post just about set to go for a game that I'd assumed was going to be a loss, only to joyfully have it turn into a win. In case you want to see what this game's bizarro world post was going to look like, feel free to click here.
Photo c/o Yankees.com
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Swish saves day, picks slumping Yankee bats up with walk-off homer while denying Baltimore sweep and preventing four-game losing streak
by Larry Koestler