June 26, 2009

Brett Gardner earns his pinstripes as Yankees rout Mets

You know that guy who doesn’t hit well enough to play in the majors, and is only good for his speed? If the headline didn’t give it away, it’s Brett Gardner. He posted an unheard of 5-for-6 night to help the Yankees (41-32) beat their National League rivals, the Mets (37-35) 9-1.

Quick ‘Cap:
The Mets made a slew of errors in the second inning, and the Yankees took full advantage. Ramiro Pena had an RBI double, CC Sabathia had an RBI single, and the Yankees scored two more runs on successive errors. Four-zip good guys.

Starter Sabathia tossed seven innings of three-hit ball, and struck out eight. His only mistake was to Gary Sheffield, who homered to left, as he did so many times with the Yankees.

The eighth inning was like a dream come true. After Sabathia struck out — he would have pitched the eighth if it weren’t for what happened next — Gardner hit his third homer of the season (his fourth hit of the game) . After Johnny Damon grounded out and Mark Teixeira walked, Alex Rodriguez hit his 564th career home run (to right-center) to surpass Yankee legend Reggie Jackson on the all-time home run list.

Gardner’s fifth hit was a triple that scored Pena, and then Damon doubled in Gardy for the Yankees’ ninth and final run. Brett Tomko (normally Brett Bombko) pitched two perfect innings to close out the victory. Full box score here.

Two huge storylines came from the game, and both were in the Yankees favor. What a night. What a win. I think Gardner is here to stay, and A-Rod is finally back to his old ways. It’s too bad Derek Jeter couldn't join the fun on his birthday, as he was a late scratch due to a cough.

The win was the third straight for the Yanks to keep pace with the surging Red Sox.

Line of the Night:
Gardner: 5-for-6, HR, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB. As you can see, he fell a double short of the cycle.

Up Next:
The Yankees could take the series Saturday night if A.J. Burnett (5-4, 4.24) can beat Tim Redding (1-2, 6.08).

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