Despite solid performance for about a month now, it was hard not to be nervous about Freddy Garcia starting a game for the Yankees. That show did not go well early in the year and when a guy is as old as Garcia, those types of performances are seemingly more foreboding omens than beginning of the year hiccups. Last night, though, Garcia allayed some of those fears. After all, if I told you that after six innings of a game which 2012 Freddy Garcia started, the score would be tied at 2, you’d probably take that every time. That’s what happened last night, and Garcia definitely pitched well enough for the Yankees to win, but a hanging pitch and a bad bounce meant another loss–their eighth straight–in Tampa Bay.
The night started out well as the Yankees were able to push across two runs off of starter Matt Moore in the first inning. Derek Jeter started the game off right, doubling to right center field. He was moved to third on a Curtis Granderson grounder. Mark Teixeira stepped up next and hit a high fly ball down the right field line. Hideki Matsui predictably misplayed/overran the ball and Jeter scored from third while Tex moved up to second. Two batters later, with Tex on third and Alex Rodriguez–following a sharp single to CF–on first, Robinson Cano ripped a ball up the middle plating the second Yankee run. They could’ve added more, but Nick Swisher grounded into a 6-4-3 DP and the inning was over. Freddy took the lead and ran with it, holding the Rays scoreless until B.J. Upton led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to left. After that, Garcia allowed just two more baserunners. Unfortunately, one of them was Carlos Pena, who hit a game tying homer with one out in the sixth.
The tie score was short lived for Tampa as the Yankees were able to manufacture a run to regain the lead in the 7th. Chris Stewart, on third thanks to a walk; a wild pitch; and a fly out to right off of Jeter’s bat, scored on a sac fly by Curtis Granderson. That lead, however, was also short lived. With two outs and a runner on second, David Robertson was summoned from the bullpen. Facing Brooks Conrad, D-Rob fell behind and eventually left a fastball over the middle of the plate and Conrad drilled it off the wall in right field (just short of a homer) to tie the game at 3. The next batter, Elliot Johnson, hit a sharp grounder right down the first base line. Mark Teixeira was in position to field it, but it must’ve taken a funny bounce or he just whiffed. The ball went under his glove and Conrad scored from second easily. After that, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney pitched two perfect innings and the Yankees were turned away in the series opener against the Rays.