April 12, 2009

Royals snatch victory from Yanks in eighth

The Yankees were essentially one out away from a huge come-from-behind victory in the eighth inning, but it just wasn't meant to be. The Yankees three-game winning streak was snapped by the Royals on Sunday in an exciting back-and-forth game.

Quick 'Cap:
The Yankees got on the board early behind the wheels of Brett Gardner, as he singled, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. Joba Chamberlain was cruised through the first two innings before allowing a solo shot to Joe Buck, and then allowed two unearned runs to score on a Nick Swisher fielding error.

The Yankees stormed back in the seventh with three consecutive hits leading to three runs to regain a 4-3 lead. Brian Bruney pitched a spotless seventh, and Marte recorded the first two outs of the eighth, but then Girardi called Jose Veras out from the bullpen. Girardi wanted to bring in a righty to face Billy Butler to be safe, but instead it backfired. Veras walked Butler on five pitches, and then was replaced by Phil Coke. Coke promptly gave up a double, a single and another double. Suddenly, the game was over and the Yankees lost 6-4. Full box score here.

It's hard to say that this was a heartbreaking loss this early in the season, but it really was for me. The Yankees had a beautiful come-from-behind win in store for them if somebody could have gotten Butler out in the eighth. This is an ugly loss for Coke, especially since him and the rest of the bullpen were off to such a good start.

However, it's hard not to look back at Swisher's error in the fourth - it totally changed the complexion of the game. Overall, it is a game to forget.

Offensive Notables:
- Hideki Matsui makes this list somehow as he was the only Yankee to reach base twice in the game, and was right in the middle of the pivotal rally in the seventh.
- Gardner really showed off what he brings to the table for the Yankees in the first inning. Unfortunately, he couldn't get anything going later on in the game.

Pitching Notables:
- Chamberlain had a fine start - 6 IP, 1 ER and 5 K on 88 pitches - but the bullpen couldn't hold on. It's easy to say in hindsight, but I wanted him to pitch the seventh inning.

Up Next:
The Yankees will continue their road trip on Monday, as they fly down to Tampa to face the Rays in a three-game set. Chien-Ming Wang will take the mound against Yankee-killer Scott Kazmir at 7:08 p.m.

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