This one was closer than the score makes it look. Javier Vazquez came out on fire. He got through 4 scoreless innings on only 37 pitches. Then, it all fell apart. He gave up 3 runs in the 5th and then 2 more in the 6th, including a 2 run blast to Hideki Matsui, who desperately misses Yankee Stadium. Joe Girardi handed things over to the bullpen after that.
Joel Pineiro made sure that this was not a pitchers duel. As bad as Javy was, Pineiro was worse. He gave up 6 runs in 6 innings of work. He left his team in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.
The Yankee main stays put the runs on the board early in the game. Jeter got 3 hits. So did Mark Teixeira, including 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Robinson Cano hit a 2 run homer to right center. It was 6-0 at the end of the 4th, but Javy didn’t have enough to keep the Angels off the board.
As exciting as a 6-5 game may be after 6 innings, this one took it to another level in the bottom of the 7th. The Yankees need players to step up right now with Andy Pettitte out and many of the starters struggling. That’s exactly what Juan Miranda did. He hit a bomb off Scot Shields to give the Yankees some breathing room.
Brett Gardner came up to bat later that inning with Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli on base. Gardner argued an inside pitch that was called for strike 2 … and was thrown out, with an 0-2 count. I’ve seen this at-bat on Yankees encore and I followed this game on ESPN game cast from work. Not only was the pitch a ball, but if ESPN’s computer generated strike zone in the game cast is to be trusted at all then the home plate umpire in today’s game may have been blind. Through out the game he was routinely making the wrong call, often on pitches that the computer was putting either well outside the zone, or right down Broadway. Gardner had probably had enough.
Poor Collin Curtis inherited Gardner’s 0-2 count as a pinch hitter. He worked the count full, and then hit his first major league home run, a screaming line drive just over the short porch. The fans at Yankee Stadium called him out for a deserved curtain call because he made sure that the Angels weren’t coming back in this one.
Unfortunately, Joba Chamberlain continues to struggle, badly. In 1.1 innings of work he gave up 3 hits, walked 1 and gave up 1 run. The Yankee bench gave Joba every opportunity to pad his stats in a game that was all but finished, and he struggled. During the broadcast Michael Kay announced that Joba has allowed 26 base runners in his last 11.2 innings pitched.
Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect 9th to end the game.