Winning Ugly

July 10, 2009 – 10:46 am

NYY 6, Minnesota 4. I guess you had to figure this wasn’t going to be much of a pitching exhibition, what with the Yankees starting a reliever and the Twins going with Francisco Liriano who has struggled this year to a 4-8 record with a 5.49 ERA. And so it was pretty ugly out there on the mound. Some of the low lights:

  • In the top of the second inning, Liriano gave up 3 runs on just 1 hit. Remarkably with the bases loaded, he walked Cody Ransom who is hitting all of .177. He was actually up in the count 0-2 and threw 4 straight balls to walk in the run.
  • In the bottom of the second, given a 3-run lead Alfredo Aceves throws a gopher ball to Jason Kubel on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the inning. And follows that up with a 5-pitch walk to Michael Cuddyer, then throws a wild pickoff attempt to first base to put Cuddyer in scoring position. And of course he does score, so the 3-run lead quickly shrinks to one run.
  • In the bottom of the fourth, with the lead back to three, David Robertson walks Denard Span on four pitches with the bases loaded. And then proceeds to walk the very next batter, Matt Tolbert, on just five pitches to plate another run and thus shrink the lead back to just one. And what made this second walked-in run totally unbelievable is that Tolbert is hitting .178 and the next batter up is Joe Mauer who is hitting a league-leading .389. So now he has to pitch to Mauer with the bases loaded and the lead down to a single run. He gets behind in the count 2-0, but then amazingly gets Mauer to ground out.

Yankees CelebrateNot exactly a pitching clinic there. But bottom line is that the Yankees won yet again. Brett Gardner, who had a great series, got the game winning hit, and Mark Teixeira finally went yard for the first time since June 12 to add an insurance run in the fifth. Right now the Yankees are winning every which way they can — one day it’s great pitching, another day great hitting, another day just winning ugly. And that’s exactly what it takes. So now they have won five series in a row, going 12-3 over that period. And with just three games left until the All-Star break, the Yankees are tied with Boston for the East lead. The second half of the season is shaping up to be a barn burner!

Photo: Newsday

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