Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Yankees 5, Rays 3

A game that turned on a few crucial moments: Top seven: Two terrific plays by Nick Swisher. 3-2 Yankees, one out, Jeff Keppinger on first. Will Rhymes doubles into the corner, Swisher plays the good hop and heaves the ball in, just freezing Keppinger--who, had he run, would have been dead at the plate. Sean Rodriguez flies out to home, Swisher rifles the ball in a second time. Keppinger barely bluffs. Molina strikes out. Rally quelled. Bottom eight: A-Rod singles, Upton butchers the routine one-hopper into a double. Jake McGree strikes out Robinson Cano, on pitches so fast Cano can barely uncoil himself. Whereupon . . . Joe Maddon goes Joe Maddon and plays lefty-righty against a switch-hitter, removing McGee for the notably less fearsome Joel Peralta. Tex, turning around to left, doubled home A-Rod for a crucial fifth run. (Is the wacky genius thing starting to play on Maddon? Kay and Leiter suggested as much. It's instructive to remember that Clueless Joe Torre has more World Series rings than geniuses like Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin . . . combined--four to three, a difference not accountable by the relative talent each man was given to manage, save maybe Martin and Herzog in Texas.) Top Nine: Here it was, then, Dave Robertson in his first save opportunity, post-Mo. Blow it, and you're in for 20 minutes of chin-pulling on "Baseball Tonight," Sal from the Bronx screaming on WFAN tomorrow morning, and Skip Bayless falling out of his chair, mid-rant, on ESPN2. In between securing two outs, Robertson works the bases full. (Get ready, New York fans, for many such nights.) Carlos Pena, Yankee Killer, junior division, at the plate. Robertson snaps a breaking ball: strike one. Then, strike two: a fast ball at the edge, the best pitch he threw all inning. Two waste pitches and back to the gas . . . strike three, a pitch nearly as good as the second. Crisis averted. 16-13, and I'm exhausted.

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