July 19, 2007
54,183 fans took their seats in the Stadium today, bearing a 98-degree heat index to watch a scorcher of a game that went 12, blazing, back-and-forth innings, ending in a 4-3 nail-biting Yankee win.
Joba Chamberlain was all aces, hitting 100 mph four times on the speed gun and showing dominance as a saving grace for the rotation in his eighth start this season, despite Johnny Damon's past concerns.
The Yankees' phenom went six full innings, giving up six hits while only allowing one run, improving his ERA to a Yankee rotation's low: 2.52.
And in typical fashion, this one-run outing did not earn him a win, due to some falling stars in relief, which has bitten Joba four times so far this season. He threw 96 pitches, 62 of which were strikes, while ringing up eight strikeouts, five flyouts, and five groundouts.
The other story of the day has got to be Robbie Cano (four for six), and the second half of the lineup, which combined for 11 of the Yankees' 13 hits. The other two were by the Yankees' captain, Derek Jeter (two for six).
Also showing his real stuff was Edwar Ramirez, who held the A’s offense scoreless for two innings after Mariano gave up one in the ninth. Edwar struck out four, walked one, and gave up no hits at all, improving his ERA to 2.50, the second lowest in the bullpen behind Mo.
Joe Girardi is now pumped up for the second half of the season.
Striking fear into the Oakland lineup, Joba hit the very first batter, Ryan Sweeny (2-4), with an 89 mph slider after being up 0-2 in the count on him. The A’s catcher, Kurt Suzuki (2-6), then grounded into a 1-6-3 double play.
Joba started off Jack Cust with knee-buckling curveballs, and then followed them with a slider and a fire-balling heater clocked at 99 mph for strike three.
In the bottom of the first, Jeter grounded out, followed by a Bobby Abreu (0-4) walk, and then A-Rod (0-5) struck out swinging. Jason Giambi (0-2) moved Abreu over with a walk, and both were stranded as Jorge Posada (1-5) struck out, ending the first inning. 0–0.
In the second inning, Joba gave up his first hit up the middle to Carlos Gonzalez (1-5) to lead the inning off. Bobby Crosby (1-6) then grounded to Cano for a forceout at second, and the speedy Crosby made it safely to first.
Joba started Mark Ellis (0-4) off with curveballs to set up the heat. He threw three straight fastballs, each were strikes, and the last one hit 99 mph, fanning a swinging Ellis.
The Yank’s hot bat, Cano, led off the bottom of the second with a single to left, and moved to third on a Wilson Betemit (2-4) shot into the center-field hole for a double. Melky Cabrera (2-6) then singled to right, scoring a smiling Cano while moving Betemit to third.
Brett Gardner (2-6) continues to make his case to be a full-timer, smashing a double, scoring Betemit while moving Cabrera to third. Then Jeter and Abreu both struck out, ending the rally. 0–2 Yanks.
In the third inning, Joba rang up two more A’s batters, allowing no runs, and Cano ripped a double in the bottom of the inning, but was stranded. 0 – 2 NY
The A's went three up, three down in the fourth, with another Joba strikeout. And then the top of the order stranded Gardner, who singled, and Abreu, who walked—resulting in more missed opportunities and no runs.
The score would remain 2-0 Yankees until the fifth inning. Matt Murton (2-4) roped a hanging curve about chest high and out over the middle of the plate into left field for a double.
Joba wants that curve to fall inside in order to set up the heat or slider. Or he could throw the fastball high and inside to set up the curve for a strike, too. It's truly an amazing arsenal Joba has to choose from to fool the batters, and scare the hell out of them at the same time.
Wes Bankston (2-5) singled to center, moving Murton to third. With guys on first and third, Joba rang up Jack Hannahan (1-4) with three straight heaters, the last one hitting 101 mph on the clock!
Murton scored on a Sweeney sac fly. With the bases loaded, Joba got out of trouble working a Gonzalez popout to end the inning. 2–1 Yanks.
In the sixth, Joba went three up, three down and ended his pitching display. The Yanks left three more runners stranded, scoring no runs in the sixth. 2 -1 Yanks.
Jose Veras (3.06 ERA) came out in the seventh, testing to be the bridge to Mariano. Wes Bankston led off with a single to right. Next, Hannahan bunted a popup to Veras, and Sweeney struck out looking. Suzuki came up and hit a shot to center, past Melky, moving Bankston to third.
Jose lost a bit of control, walking Cust to load ‘em up, and then he really lost control with a wild pitch, scoring Bankston and tying the game 2, 2.
The Yanks went three up, three down in the bottom of the seventh.
In the eighth inning, Kyle Farnsworth (3.43 ERA) held strong, getting the A’s to go three up, three down, but the Yanks went four up, three down, with an Abreu walk, who was stranded yet again.
Enter the ninth, and the Sandman—Mariano Rivera (1.25 ERA). Hannahan led off with a single, and was then pinch-ran for by Raja Davis, who stole second off of Posada.
With shades of Dave Roberts from 2004, Sweeney hit a single to left and the speedy Davis scored, giving the A’s a 3-2 lead. Fans watched in bewilderment as Sweeney then stole second, too. With electricity in the air, a cool Mariano struck out the next three batters.
Giambi led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, and was pinch-run for by Justin Christian, seemingly to offer the A’s a taste of their own medicine. With Posada at the plate, Christian jolted with a nice step-stealing move, but tripped and fell over an imaginary wire, leading to the first out.
Posada then grounded out, leaving the Yankee fans gasping for breath as there were two down in the bottom of the ninth with what was a once-slumping back of the order.
Smiling Robbie then blasted a shot into left for a double. He was followed with a Betemit single to left, scoring Robbie and tying the game. Melky got some too, singling to center and moving Betemit into a game-winning position at third. But Gardner popped out. 3-3.
Edwar Ramirez put on a clinic for two innings, the 10th and 11th, throwing mastery while mixing his changeups, sliders, and fastballs, which left batters scratching. He didn’t give up any hits, only walked one, and struck four batters out. Edwar the hero!
Robbie Cano knocked his fourth and final hit to center for a single. Betemit laid down a perfect bunt down the third-base line, moving Cano over. Cabrera and Gardner both flied out, stranding a runner again, and forcing another inning.
David Robertson, who is making some noise on the Yanks as a rookie call-up, came in for the top of the 12th. The first batter was Carlos Gonzalez, who hit a shell to left to a "never wall-shying" Gardner, streaking backwards and demanding the coach's attention as he leapt with faith into the wall, fully extended to make a game-saving first out. You won't see that great play in the 12th on ESPN though. They're more interested in a Red Sox player making a good play while losing!
Robertson then gave up a single to Crosby and then walked Mark Ellis with some questionable calls by the ump, James Hoye. Robertson tipped his hat to Gardner. Dave came back with a strikeout on Don Murphy, and got Emil Brown in a groundout, ending the inning with a hold.
Jeter led of the bottom of the 12th with his second hit, a line drive to center. Abreu grounded out softly to the pitcher, and Jeter got over to second. DiNardo intentionally walked Mr. Rodriguez, and then unintentionally walked Richie Sexson, who came in to replace Christian.
Bases loaded, bottom of the 12th, with one out and up steps Jose Molina to the plate. With a 1-2 count, Molina took one for the team and was hit by a pitch. Jeter scores. David Robertson gets his first one, a 4-3, back-and-forth pitcher’s duel, testing each of the bullpens...and Thaaaaaa Yankees Win!
On a side note, nothing is wrong with Wade Boggs, he wore the interlocking NY at the All-Star Game because of this stunning development. Actually, he said on ESPN (before the first Sox-Yanks Series, in Fenway) that he always roots for the underdog.