The Baltimore Orioles did what the New York Yankees have not been able to all season – hit with runners in scoring position, and with that they walk out of Camden Yards with their first postseason home win in 16 years beating the Yankees 3-2, in Game 2 of the ALDS.
The Yankees out-hit Baltimore and put pressure on Wei-Yin Chen all game and got Chen into trouble early. Derek Jeter started the game exactly as the Yankees would have wanted with a hit which was followed by a defensive miscue by Baltimore’s shaky defense on a slap-shot by Ichiro Suzuki, who reached first on an error by Baltimore first baseman Mark Reynolds. Chen caught a very big break as Alex Rodriguez rocketed a ball to Baltimore second baseman Robert Andino, who made a nice snag and doubled Jeter off second.
Andino’s great defensive play was magnified as Robinson Cano roped a double to right field two pitches later. What looked to be a big inning for the Yankees, ended with New York only scoring a lone one run. This has been a problem for the Yankees all year. The positive is that it was at least a very exciting run, thanks to Suzuki’s “matrix” like dance routine around Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters. Suzuki danced and pranced around both home plate and Wieters, before jumping over the catcher’s out stretched arms scoring the game’s first run, giving New York its only lead of the game.
Andy Pettitte, the most victorious post-season pitcher in the history of MLB, looked sharp early on, setting down eight straight. Getting the ninth batter out changed the complexion and outcome of Game 2 of this ALDS series.
The two-out Baltimore rally that ended up halting Pettitte’s chance at his 20th post-season win started relatively harmless. After breezing through the start Pettitte gave up two lightly hit singles. Than the wheels came off in the inning for Pettitte after a walk to Baltimore’s JJ Hardy.
In Hardy’s at-bat, Pettitte lost the strike zone, which was hard to do with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez calling everything near the plate a strike. With the walk to Hardy, Pettitte loaded the basses for Chris Davis, who was moved up in the order as Baltimore manager Buck Showalter shuffled his lineup against the savvy lefty Pettitte. With basses loaded, Davis hit a single to right driving in two, giving Baltimore a lead it would not let go off.
The win for Baltimore was the teams 75th leading after seven innings this season. Baltimore’s third and final run came off the bat of Wieters, who led off the bottom of the sixth with a double that broke him out of his 0-12 post-season slump. He then came around to score on a single by Yankee killer Reynolds.
The run in the bottom of the sixth loomed big as the Yankees finally got a lead-off hit from someone not named Jeter. Eduardo Nunez, doubled to start the top of the seventh off and than was followed by the so far most reliable hitter for the Yankees “Mr. November” Jeter who followed up Nunez’s double with a single to right, which was one of his two hits on the night.
The seventh inning was just another wasted inning for the Yankees, who have wasted chances all season and tonight it caught up to them. Unlike the regular season they don’t have much time to fix this problem or they will be sent packing, New York again got a stellar start but this time they came up empty, they couldn’t any late game magic and leave Baltimore with a sour taste in their mouth, and have to be thinking how is this series tied. Early on it games you usually can tell what New York team will show up. And tonight it was what New York fans have seen all to often recently, and if this side of the Yankees had a theme song it would have a reggae twist and the song would be called: “No homeruns No win”.
Getting out-hit and still pulling off a win, with a rookie on the mound, has to have Baltimore not only thrilled but with the momentum going to the Bronx. New York, on the other hand has to be beyond frustrated as they gave this game away and was a microcosm of their regular season, losses especially late in the season, as they almost let Baltimore almost catch them. The problem for New York is this isn’t the regular season, they better figure something out or someone other than Jeter better start stepping up or their will be some major problems in the Bronx.
New York did not get the clutch hits, they did not hit with runners in scoring position and most important, they could not generate a win without hitting a homerun. This has been the recipe to beat New York all year, the problem is, they are doing it to themselves.
How can a team with so much talent and such great pitching performances be headed into Game 3 knotted up with a team throwing inexperienced rookies at them. The pitchers for the Yankees are holding their side of the deal down. New York has only thrown one relief pitcher in two game for one inning, yet they go home needing to win more than one game. How is this possible?
Game 3 of the ALDS will be Wednesday night in New York as Baltimore will pitch another rookie Miguel Gonzalez (2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in New York this season), the Yankees will again counter with veteran, Hiroki Kuroda. If the Yankees don’t start hitting they are going to force so much pressure on the pitching staff to over pitch and make no mistakes that if will force mistakes. One thing is for sure they are home and they will hear it from the “bleacher creatures” especially but from all of New York if this high paid lineup does not back another strong pitching performance.