Hitters often say that the last thing they want to do is try and hit a home run.
Then there’s Mark Teixeira. He came to the plate in the top of the ninth inning tonight looking to put a ball in the seats and did just that as the Yankees came from behind to win yet again.
“No doubt. I have one thing in mind there,” he said. “When you have a good pitcher out there, you hope he makes a mistake. If he doesn’t give you that one good pitch, maybe you can walk and start a big inning. But I had one thing in mind and he left a pitch over the middle of the plate.
Mark Lowe left a 1-1 change-up high in the strike zone and Teixeira hammered it. He has 30 homers and 86 RBI with 46 games left to play. Teixeira deftly turned aside questions about his MVP candidacy, saying to ask him again at the end of the season. But he has been the best player on the best team.
His teammates were watching the replay of Teixeira’s homer and howled in laughter at the little hop he did when he hit the ball. “II don’t know where that comes from,” he said. “It’s a happy hop. I’m probably one of the most boring players in baseball. That’s all I can do for excitement.”
A few other notes and observations:
• Brian Bruney’s return to form (5 scoreless innings in his last 4 outings) is huge for this team. As Joe Girardi said, it gives the bullpen more length.
• Tonight was Mariano’s 900th appearance. Only 21 pitchers have appeared in more games. He seems to be over his cranky shoulder as he dispatched of the Mariners on nine pitches.
• The Yankees are 30 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2006 season with 97 wins.
• Phil Hughes was marveling at facing Ken Griffey Jr. “I play his Super Nintendo video game every day when we’re at home,” he said. “Pretty cool.”
Junior walked in the bottom of the eighth inning as did Russell Branyan. But Hughes trusted his stuff and came back to strike out Jack Hannahan on a 3-2 pitch. It’s moments like those, I believe, that will help him become a great starter down the road. This experience has been great for Hughes, who is proving that, when healthy, he’s as good as his rep.
• This team has won 35 of 46. They’re a machine at this point.
Back it tomorrow. Thanks for staying up late.