Monday, October 8, 2012

Ninth Inning Rally Gives Yankees 1-0 Game Advantage

The Yankees entered play today having had three straight days off. As if that was not enough, the game was delayed by almost three hours due to rain. That didn't stop the Yankees from scoring in the first inning as Jeter singled up the middle to lead off the game and Ichiro wasted no time by doubling him home. Ichiro would get sloppy right after however, as he was tagged out trying to steal third with no outs in the first. That caught stealing gave the Baltimore starter Jason Hammel some momentum through the game as he only allowed another run in 5.2 innings of work. The Orioles would score a pair off CC Sabathia on a Nate McClouth single that temporarily gave the O's a lead before the Yankees came back the following inning by scoring one run on a Teixeira single off the right field wall but Teixeira was tagged out trying to advance to second. That was the Yankees' second base-running blunder of the night which cost them an additional out in the fourth with a runner at third base.

After giving up a pair of runs, CC Sabathia buckled down and went one out short of a complete game in what would turn out to be a 7-2 rout of the Orioles as the Yankees came back big time in the ninth. What was important for CC Sabathia was pitching around a JJ Hardy lead-off double in the eighth to retire the 3-4-5 hitters in order. That performance may have shifted the momentum of the game toward the Yankees side of the dugouts as Russell Martin led-off the ninth inning with a go-ahead solo blast off closer Jim Johnson who was brilliant in the regular season. Johnson would go on to give up five runs to the Yankees potent offense while only collecting one out in the inning. It was important for the Yankees to score in the ninth to stop Baltimore from believing they could come back in the bottom of the inning. An experienced playoff team knows how to perform when it's crunch time. The Yankees put their experience on display as they went on to beat the Orioles by a final score of 7-2.

The Yankees lead the series 1-0 and will play tomorrow night in Camden Yards once more. Andy Pettitte, the pitcher with the most wins in postseason history, will make the start against the Birds. The Orioles will counter with left handed starter Wei-Yin Chen. If the Yankees come out of these first two games with a split, they should be happy; however, the Yankees will be looking to come home to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday to wrap this series up with Kuroda on the mound in front of the home crowd.

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