After Joe Girardi was ejected in the top of the eighth — more on that in a bit — the Yankees top decision maker became bench coach Tony Pena. And when it came time to make a pitching change with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Pena called to the bullpen and asked for Mariano Rivera.
“We discussed it in the dugout,” Pena said. “But when I walked out of the dugout I just changed my mind and said I’m going to use Marte, so I asked for Marte.”
Pena said it was “my gut, my instinct” that caused him to change his mind. The bullpen, of course, didn’t know about this sudden change of plans and sent Rivera to the mound. When Rivera got there, Pena talked to the umpires and sent Rivera back.
“I don’t know what happened. I know I was ready,” Rivera said. “I think it worked out. You guys had your laugh, and we won the game.”
From his place in the clubhouse, Girardi was as confused as anyone — “Whatever it is, it worked,” he said — but Girardi was not confused when he went to the plate to argue after Nick Swisher’s strikeout. He said he knew he was going to be thrown out as soon as he left the dugout. He didn’t even bring his cap with him. There had been a lot of borderline strikes, and Girardi believed Swisher had checked his swing. Home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman said he went around.
“I threw my hat when he called it, and I didn’t go back to get it,” Girardi said. “Sure I can (argue and not get ejected), but did you think I was going to when I went out?”
Associated Press photo of the vein in Girardi’s neck. Also in the photo, Girardi and Dreckman.