A string of bad luck and unfortunate breaks for the Yankees finally subsided on Sunday afternoon. Ironically, it occurred during the team’s 13th game of the season.
While Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett struggled with his curveball all start long, he was able to perform his best Houdini impersonation. Two home runs and seven walks later, the Yankees still only trailed 3-1.
On the other side of the pitching matchup, Carl Pavano ensured that his return to the Bronx was a successful one. He pitched six innings of excellent baseball, and was able to keep hitters off balance with a quality changeup.
After a failed rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, New York appeared to be hanging its head. The Yankees had now become “The Pacifists,” unwilling to put up a fight for most of their stadium’s opening series.
Robinson Cano was not prepared to give up so easily, as New York’s hottest hitter ripped an opposite field double to start the seventh inning.
A clutch single by Hideki Matsui brought the Yankees within one, when Cody Ransom’s failed bunt attempt brought a familiar face off the bench as a pinch-hitter.
Jorge Posada was summoned to save the Yankees from the jaws of defeat, and he was certainly up to the task.
Thanks to a home run call reminiscent of Jeffrey Maier’s 1996 postseason heroics, Posada gave New York a lead it would never relinquish. He launched an offering from Rafael Betancourt toward the right field wall, where two fans ruined any hopes of a play being made by RF Trevor Crowe.
A long deliberation and subsequent replay review by the umpires confirmed the Indians fate. They ruled the video evidence inconclusive, which resulted in the original call of a home run to stand.
The Yankees good fortune did not end there, as three undeserved runs scored with a little help from our galaxy’s closest star. A broken bat fly ball by Cody Ransom in the eighth was lost amidst the sunshine, and New York’s lead bloated to 7-3.
Mariano Rivera was called on to finish off the win like he has done so many times before, and New York escaped with a much needed series split.
The win was not at all pretty, nor did it help to answer many of the questions still surrounding the franchise. The Yankees awoke when they needed to most, however, and were able to creep back above .500 on the season.
New York now needs to regroup against an inferior Oakland Athletics team in a three-game series beginning tomorrow night. A difficult battle with the Boston Red Sox is on the horizon in Fenway, and the Yankees cannot afford to hit the road lacking in confidence.
The Yankees dodged a bullet on Sunday, but will need to elevate their play in order to enter the next stretch of the season’s early schedule.