May 17, 2009

Yankees clinch series with Damon’s walk-off

I think the Yankees are running out of pies. Each time the Yankees walk off with a win at home, the player who had the game-winning hit takes a pie in the face.

Johnny Damon was the recipient of the latest pie, as he crushed a solo homer in the 10th inning for the Yankees (20-17) to beat the Twins (18-20) 3-2. For the Yankees, it was their fifth consecutive win and seventh of their last nine.

Quick ‘Cap:
A.J. Burnett and Kevin Slowey matched zeroes through six innings, but both succumbed in the seventh. The Twins scored their first run on a walk and two singles, and their second came on a wild pitch – Burnett threw two against Joe Mauer and Nick Punto came all the way around to score from second base.

After Jonathan Albaladejo finished the seventh for Burnett, Alex Rodriguez led off the bottom of the inning. He homered to left on the second pitch he saw from Slowey. That hit regained the momentum for the Yanks, and Hideki Matsui immediately followed with a double. Then the Yankees played a little small ball to tie it up. Nick Swisher lay down a sac-bunt to move Matsui to third, and Melky Cabrera hit a sac-fly to left.

The Yankees almost won the game in the ninth inning on a quirky play. With Brett Gardner at second, Francisco Cervelli hit a comebacker to the mound and it was knocked down by the pitcher. Mauer scrambled out from behind home to grab the ball and throw out Cervelli, but he faked the throw when he saw Gardner bolting around third. As Gardner dove for home, Mauer dove for Gardner and barely tagged him out before his hands touched the plate.

Alfredo Aceves relieved Mariano Rivera in the tenth and shut the Twins down once again. After Derek Jeter grounded out to lead off the 10th, Damon followed with the walk-off bomb. Full box score here.

A Yankee fan could not ask for any more excitement in these past three games. Three walk-off win’s in a row, are you kidding me?

Noteworthy Performances:
- The hero, Damon, was 3-for-5 in the game with the home run. He is now batting .324.
- Burnett pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up six hits and two runs, but struck out seven. He walked six Twins hitters in his 123-pitch outing
- Brett Tomko and Mark Teixeira may have saved the game in the top of the eighth. Tomko entered the game with the bases loaded and one out. He induced a hard grounder to Teixeira that he nabbed with a dive to his backhand, and then came to his feet to throw out the runner at home.

Up Next:
The Yankees look to sweep Monday night in a nationally televised game on ESPN. Two southpaws Glen Perkins (1-2, 4.27) and Andy Pettitte (3-1, 4.00) will start in the duel.

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