Throwback Thursday: 5/16/06

May, 16, 2006

It was a Tuesday night and I was at the old Stadium with my brother.

We were sitting in Main Level 20 and by the time the top of the second inning ended and the Texas Rangers were already up 9-0, I looked at my brother and said, “I’m never coming to this place on a Tuesday again.” Exactly a week before, I was sitting behind home plate at the Stadium and watched as the Red Sox beat up on Randy Johnson, Aaron Small and Tanyon Sturtze and pummeled the Yankees 14-3. So I was having flashbacks to that shellacking and didn’t think I could sit through another one.

My brother calmly and confidently said, “Don’t worry, Texas has no pitching, the Yankees can come back.” I scoffed at the notion and said, “Yeah, right.” Of course, he ended up being right.

***

The Yankees began to chip away at the Rangers’ lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the second and two more in the bottom of the third. At that point the score was 10-3.

A big key to the historic comeback was being able to hold Texas scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. As the Yankee pitchers did that, the offense scored two more in the fifth to halve the score at 10-5.

Even then, my brother was confident. I wasn’t so sure. I thought they’d cut the lead to 10-9 and end up losing in spectacularly heartbreaking fashion in the bottom of the ninth but I’ve always been a pessimist. It’s an awful trait.

The game took a turn for the much better in the bottom of the sixth when the Yankees scored six runs to take an 11-10 lead. It was amazing to watch as Texas unraveled and the Yankees stormed ahead.

And how did they do it? Well, Derek Jeter hit a three-run home run, Bernie Williams hit an RBI double and old friend Miguel Cairo hit a two-run single.

The good feelings didn’t last because the Yankees lost the lead the very next inning thanks to reliever Scott Proctor who walked Kevin Mench and his size 8 head to lead off the inning and then gave up a two-run home run to Brad Wilkerson.

Working in the Yankees’ favor was that it was only the seventh inning, it was only a one run lead and that Texas’s bullpen was not very good.

Johnny Damon got on base thanks to a Mark Teixeira error and scored later in the inning on a Jorge Posada sacrifice fly.

The score was knotted at 12 until the ninth inning when Joe Torre brought in Mariano Rivera to pitch. I remember saying that I didn’t like the move and that I felt that Mo was going to give up the lead. My brother looked absolutely gobsmacked at the notion that I could be smiting Rivera but I turned out to be right. Even the guys sitting near us were mad at me for thinking that way.

Texas rallied and scored a run thanks to a Mench single, a Wilkerson sacrifice bunt, a Mark DeRosa walk and a Rod Barajas RBI double.

The Yankees found themselves trailing 13-12 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

posadacloseupTexas brought in their closer Akinori Otsuka to close out the game. Damon singled to lead off the inning. But that was followed by a Jeter ground out to the pitcher which allowed Damon to advance to second, Alex Rodriguez followed with a line out to centerfield, leaving Posada as their last hope.

Posada, who probably should have been out of the game after a nasty collision at the plate with Mark Teixeira earlier in the contest, stepped up to the plate and after four pitches sent Otsuka’s fifth offering into the right field bleachers.

The Yankees completed their historic comeback, won the game 14-13 and I lost my voice from screaming as Posada ran the bases.

As we were walking out of Gate 2, a woman looked at me and said, “Can you believe that actually happened?” I answered, “No but I’m glad we were here for it.” She smiled and said, “Me too.” I smiled back and we went our separate ways.

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money, co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast and is a monthly contributor to ESPN's SweetSpot Blog. She is a former contributor at Aerys Sports and High Heat Stats. She has contributed to group projects at Baseball: Past And Present and the Hall of Stats. Her work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly and most recently, she wrote four pieces for Derek Jeter: Celebrating the Yankees' Captain Clutch, a magazine printed by i5 Publishing.