The pitchers nearly ruined the six run lead built by the New York Yankees bats, but when it came down to the last out between Mariano Rivera and Albert Pujols, with the bases loaded, the greatest closer in the history of the game overcame the hitting prowess of the expensive flop from the Los Angeles Angels.
Rivera didn’t just beat him. He struck him out with three pitches. The two hits allowed by Rivera were forgotten, and the win remained in the hands of C.C. Sabathia, who had a wonderful game for 7 innings before things starting slipping away in the 9th, forcing him to forgo his complete game.
Bottom line? The New York Yankees won 6-5, despite giving up five runs in the ninth. Albert Pujols was reached third when a Mark Trumbo hit got the Angels for the first time on the scoreboard. Not long afterwards, with the bases loaded and the Yankees giving up on both Sabathia and David Robertson, it was Pujols once again on the plate, but he blew it. He finished with 0-for-4 on the day, his average dropping to .256 this season.
The Yankees also did most of their scoring in one inning – the third. Travis Hafner began the scoring frenzy with a three run homer, his 11th of the season, followed by a scoring double from Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix driving him home and an additional score in the 8th after Vernon Wells hit a sacrifice fly that gave Robinson Cano the chance to get a run.
But the Yankees were all about how Rivera got his 24th save of the season, in what seemed like another ordinary moment for him in a career that has been anything but.
The moment doesn’t really get to him. As long as he’s got the lead, you feel he’s going to find a way to get the win. That’s what everybody comes and pays for. That was a little closer than we thought, but I didn’t sense a lot of panic.
In truth, a lot of the mini-panic was caused by Rivera himself. He gave up three hits and a walk, but still managed to keep his composure and his stuff for the final showdown of the game, making Albert Pujols looks as bad as he’s have all season long, which has happened a few times already.
The Yankees struggled offensively in the series, but despite missing quite a few starters and possibly losing Mark Teixeira for longer than expected, their getting enough from unexpected sources. Hafner was 0-for-23 before hitting the home run early in the game, leading to the five-run third inning. It was the first time after eight straight games in which the Yankees manager getting more than four runs.
The Yankees extremely enjoyed Jarrod Weaver being more than a little bit rusty. The Angels’ ace won 20 games last season, but hasn’t been well on his last four starts since returning from over 40 days on the DL. He’s 1-3 this season with a 4.41 ERA, allowing 7 hits, 4 walks and 5 runs during his six innings.