It wasn't pretty, but the Yankees eek out a win tonight in Baltimore in a game where they were trailing by two runs early on. Andy Pettitte was sharp early but come the third and fourth inning Pettitte was giving up too many hits and the Orioles took advantage by scoring three times in the two innings. Pettitte ended up throwing a season high 109 pitches through 6 1/3 innings after walking Nate McLouth in the seventh inning. At that point Girardi was going batter to batter with Pettitte and after getting ahead of McLouth early, Pettitte fell behind and walked him which wouldn't hurt the Yankees because he would get thrown out trying to steal second base by the Shawn Kelley/Chris Stewart combination. Kelley did his job by trying to keep him close which resulted in the speedy outfielder not getting a great jump when he finally attempted to steal the bag. David Robertson had been out since September 6th which was crushing for the Yankees but he worked a scoreless inning in the eighth to get the win for the Yankees. Robertson will always put men on base and that is something fans will have to live with. We have been spoiled with Mariano Rivera who works 1-2-3 innings like clockwork. Speaking of Mo, after getting four outs last night he was right back in there to seal the win with a two-run lead. Despite giving up one run with two outs Mariano struck out Machado on three pitches to put the game in the books and to give himself his 43rd save of the year. The 43 saves now tie him with Orioles closer Jim Johnson for most in the American League.
The Yankees have now gone ahead of the Indians and Orioles and trail in the wildcard race by just 1.5 games. If the Rays lose tonight the Yankees will be one game back in the standings. A win tomorrow against the Orioles would put the Yankees in good position to take a commanding lead in the wildcard race against the Orioles and Indians. The series against Boston this weekend will be HUGE in determining where the Yankees stand in the race. If they lose two of three or get swept by Boston their season could very well be over. This is why winning tomorrow against Chen is that much more important. Hughes will start tomorrow over Huff, which Girardi based on Huff's inexperience.