The Yankees played small ball tonight, beating the invaders from Los Angeles of Anaheim by the score of 5-3. Actually, the Yanks played small ball, big ball and everything-in-between ball, juggling all elements of the game perfectly.
It was a pleasure to watch the Angels go down to defeat for a change – from Torii losing his shoe on a failed catch…
…to Scioscia having to pull Weaver, who pitched well but not well enough.
Aside from the homer he allowed to Guerrero in the first, Joba was very effective over his four innings, not walking a batter – hopefully a confidence boost for him. Aceves was his usual workmanlike self. Coke ended the seventh on Izturis‘ grounder to Jeter, whose brilliant play only added to his highlights reel for ’09. Hughes loaded the bases in the eighth – I guess he’s human after all – but got Morales to ground into a DP and limited the damage to one run.
Speaking of Morales, my Extra Innings package wouldn’t give me the YES feed, so I was stuck with the Angels announcers. I had to laugh when Gubicza said, “Kendry has made the Angels forget all about Mark Teixeira.”
Excuse me? Morales was 1-4 in tonight’s game and grounded into that DP I mentioned. Here’s what Teixeira did: he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and was sparkling on defense. Nice try, Gubie.
Nick Swisher played big ball, going deep in the third. But it was Girardi’s small ball move in the bottom of the eighth that raised eyebrows.
After Tex doubled, he sent Gardner to pinch run for him. At first, I thought the move was really screwy.
“Hey,” I said to my husband. “What if this game goes into extras and we need Tex’s bat?”
“Speed kills,” he said. “Gardner will steal and score the go-ahead run, and Mo will close it out.”
Which is exactly what happened. Gardner stole and came home on Napoli’s errant pickoff attempt, and Mo notched his 40th save to reduce the Yankees’ magic number to 12. I’ve decided that Joe is a genius and my husband is psychic.
I asked him to predict how the Yankees will do on Tuesday night when Mitre takes on Halladay.
“Doc shut us out last time,” I said. “Will he do it again?”
“Tell me!” I begged.
“Sorry, but I charge by the hour,” he said. “No money up front? No prediction.”
Well, that hardly seemed fair. So I came back with:
“No prediction? No dinner.”
That got his attention.
“The Yankees will win,” he said, taking the safe route.
You heard it here first.
Talk about a wild one.
After that four-run first inning, it seemed as if the Yanks would send Jered I-Look-Like-A-Surfer-Dude Weaver to the showers early.
But he settled down and/or the Yankees took a nap, and despite the rainy conditions he and Pettitte both hung in.
Then came the sixth, when manager Mike So-sha started pointing to his nose and his chin and his nose again – the secret signs he uses to get the Angels to play their famous brand of small ball.
Suddenly, the Angels sprouted wings and flew around the bases, scoring two and knocking out Pettitte. Oh, Andy.
Not that Mark Melancholy did much better, serving up a triple to Gary Matthews, Jr. that put the Angels ahead 5-4. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he threw a wild pitch to Abreu and went slipping and sliding on the wet infield as he tried to tag Matthews at the plate.
I was surprised that nobody came out to calm the kid down – not Eiland or Girardi or even Posada – but maybe I was too busy cursing at the TV to notice.
Speaking of cursing, Veras entered the game in the seventh and I was not happy to see him. “DON’T WALK THE LEADOFF BATTER LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO!” I yelled. So, of course, that’s what he did. Total carnage followed, including a suicide squeeze.
Ramirez allowed more damage, and when the inning was finally over the Yankees were down 9-4. Two things became very clear.
One: Jose and Edwar were useless.
Two: The Magic Pen was in danger of being useless too.
And then a miracle in the eighth.
We got to their bullpen with hits from Cano, Gardner, Melky and Pena (and a walk by Posada) to bring us to 9-8. And after Albaladejo retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, we struck again.
After Tex walked and Matsui and Cano singled, Posada stepped in. I stood in front of the TV, my face THIS close to the screen, clutching the Magic Pen and hoping against all hope.
And then? Walkoff single and a 10-9 victory.
There was sheer bedlam at my house as the neighbors joined the celebration.
After they left, it was time to say a special thank-you to the Magic Pen. I mean, seriously. Four straight wins since I fished it out of a drawer and started using it to keep score? No coincidence there. The pen is getting it done.
For starters, the pen and I toasted the Yankees’ success and shared a nice bottle of Syrah.
Then, because the pen had been dropping hints about wanting a car, I bought it one. And not just any one.
I even let the pen drive the Porsche.
To cap a fantastic night, I went clubbing with the pen and introduced it to several of Santa Barbara’s boldfaced names, including these two.
I was a little embarrassed when it gushed over them and acted all celebrity-crazy. But I was totally humiliated when it slobbered all over Michael Douglas and leaked ink all over his white shirt.
I made the mistake of telling it that Douglas had won a Best Actor Academy Award for “Wall Street.” Before I could stop it, the pen actually grabbed the Oscar right out of his hands and stood next to it!
It was nearly 2 a.m. when I finally put the pen to bed and told it to get some sleep.
“We have a day game against the Angels tomorrow,” I said. “I need you rested and ready to go.”
Come on, people. Enter! The more pix the better!