After a 4 hour and 3 minute rain delay, and about 1,000 brave souls in the stands, Phil Hughes was finally able to throw the first pitch in a game that the Yankees would not win until 2:15 a.m.
For the second run of the game, Francisco Cervelli hit a long fly ball just in front of the warning track and it appeared that the left-fielder what make the catch. However, as a result of all the wind and rain, the ball went in and out of Matt Angle’s glove, so he advanced to second and Jorge Posada scored. Posada had earlier hit a solo homer so he had scored both of the runs through five innings.
The error by Angle would be the first of three Orioles’ miscues during the game but only one error would lead to an unearned run.
Hughes cruised through the first five innings, keeping the Orioles off the scoreboard while only allowing three hits. This proves that he was able to locate his pitches well but it was not all that promising that he had thrown 91 pitches to that point.
In the top of the sixth, the second to last batter Hughes would face was Matt Wieters and he would hit a long home run to deep right that scored the possible Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. Hughes rebounded well, especially considering the conditions he was pitching in, after allowing 12 runs combined in his last two starts.
The Yankees would score all of their runs off of Orioles starter Tommy Hunter. He was acquired by the Orioles in a July 30th, pre deadline deal which would send Hunter and Chris Davis to the Orioles and Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers.
In the bottom of the sixth inning Mark Teixiera singled to right for his 102nd RBI, which scored Derek Jeter after he had singled earlier in the inning. Finally, in the bottom of the seventh inning the usually light hitting duo of Cervelli and Brett Gardner would hit back-to-back homers to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead, and close out the scoring.
Cervelli hit only his fifth home run and fourth this season, during his 180 game career with the Yankees as the back-up catcher. However, this was a disputed home run that can be compared the Jeffrey Maier incident back in the first-round of 1996 playoffs since that was against the Orioles as well.
This play can not exactly be compared with the famous play in 96 that helped the Yankees win the playoff game because Angle was not planted under the ball like Tony Tarasco was on Jeter’s homer. There were much less than 1,000 drenched fans at the stadium at this point, and the ball just so happened to touch the hands of two people as they were reaching over the left-field wall.
Corey Wade would get his second win in his last four appearances out of the bullpen, once again proving to be a gem of a signing by General Manager Brian Cashman since he only has a 2.05 ERA, and nobody really made a big deal when he was acquired. Mariano Rivera would lock-down his 39th save of the season in order, and is now only four saves away from overtaking Trevor Hoffman as the all-time leader.
The Yankees brain-trust executed yet another admirable gesture by saying that anyone who had bought a ticket to the game, but decided not to attend because of the adverse conditions, can exchange this ticket for any 2012 game.
Both teams have a very fast turnaround as last night/this morning’s game ended only about 10 hours and 45 minutes before today’s game is scheduled to start. It does not really make sense that they played the game last night, since there was such an increased chance for injury, but the Yankees got the win to keep them 2.5 games ahead of the Red Sox, which is the bottom line.
Joe Girardi is sending out what looks like a Spring Training lineup on first glance, but when one looks at it more closely it makes sense to give many starters a day of rest after the marathon like game last night. There is also only one more off day before the playoffs begin. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera and Brett Gardner will all be getting the game off. Their replacements will be Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Greg Golson, Brandon Laird and Andruw Jones.
Jesus Montero will also be getting another start after his two homer game where he was the savior on Monday. Hopefully he will be able to lead the offense along with Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez and Jones
A.J. Burnett will get the start for the Yankees and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to defeat the elements after having a much needed respectable start against the Red Sox on Thursday where he allowed two runs in 5.1 innings. Girardi said two days ago that he will keep Hughes and Burnett in the rotation for at least on more turn so we will see how Burnett performs against a much less imposing lineup.
If Burnett allows three runs or less then that will make Girardi’s decision interesting but if the allows more than three then Hughes should remain in the rotation because Burnett is too much of a question mark.
Zach Britton will take the hill for the Orioles and he held the Yankees offense scoreless during seven innings 10 days ago. Britton has likely been O’s most reliable starter of late only allowing three runs in his last three starts. In his career against the Yankees, which only includes three stars he has a 3.77 ERA, but this season on the road his ERA sits at 6.32, which is nothing to write home about.
It seems like the elements will play a role in the game once again because it has been raining off and on all morning. Nobody knows how much the rain will affect Burnett but it is possible that he will be able to limit the Orioles like he did against the Red Sox since their offense is much less potent.