The Twins played it by the book tonight, but the numbers weren’t in their favor.
Alex Rodriguez is 4-for-4 with one walk, one sacrifice fly, two home runs and 14 RBI in six plate appearances when Mark Teixeira has been intentionally walked to load the bases in front of him.
He was already 4-for-6 with three home runs in his career against Twins reliever Matt Guerrier, and that was before tonight’s game-winning grand slam. Joe Girardi, of course, knew those matchup numbers.
“I just kind of kept my mouth shut and watched the game unfold,” Girardi said.
Actually, Girardi thought Rodriguez had only one home run, not three, against Guerrier. Even so, he understood what the Twins were trying to do. They wanted to setup a double play, then use the sinkerballer to get a ground ball. That’s obviously not what happened.
“That’s why I hit fourth,” Rodriguez said. “My team is expecting me to get big hits in those situations.”
The grand slam was the 19th of Rodriguez’s career, the third most all-time. The home run was No. 587, moving him past Frank Robinson for sole possession of seventh on baseball’s career home runs list. Only four of those home runs have come this season, but Rodriguez was one of the few Yankees who actually hit on the recent road trip, and ht was 2-for-3 with a walk on Friday.
“Through all this, the one thing Alex has done is he’s hit with runners in scoring position,” Girardi said. “Alex is an RBI guy. That’s what he does.”
Here’s Rodriguez talking after the game.
• A.J. Burnett on the comeback double play that helped him get out of trouble in the second inning: “If it doesn’t get caught in my uniform for a second I don’t think I make the play. It might go through my arms.”
• Burnett pitched pretty well tonight, especially considering he wasn’t happy with his fastball command. He said he was up in the zone all night, but after wiggling out of that potentially devastating second, he pitched his way almost through the seventh. “We battled the best we could to keep (the offense) in it,” he said.
• If you didn’t see it in the game post, Damaso Marte was not given the win. He was deemed ineffective by the official scorer and so the win went to Joba Chamberlain, who struck out the side in the eighth. The old Chamberlain really seems to be coming back.
• When Chamberlain was asked about that eighth inning he said, “You don’t want to sleep a waking dog.” Pretty sure he meant, wake a sleeping dog. Like I said, the old Joba is back.
• The Yankees are struggling lately? They’ve won eight of their past 12 games, outscoring their opponents 74-42 in that span. They have the best home record in baseball at 11-2.
• Brett Gardner went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season. He has now reached base safely in 16 straight games and is batting .367 with a .433 on-base percentage in that stretch.
• Chan Ho Park pitched a scoreless inning in his rehab start tonight with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He struck out two and allowed one hit.
• Great stuff from my friend Donnie Collins, who talked to Brian Cashman about today’s decision to claim Shane Lindsay and release Christian Garcia. “When (Garcia) declared himself as having Tommy John surgery a month ago, I knew that at some point, if I got in a roster crunch, he’d be released,” Cashman said. “It’s too bad, too. Tool-wise, he was one of our better-ability players. But physically, he couldn’t hold it together.”
Associated Press photos.