Without those back-to-back singles, nothing else in the 10th inning would have mattered. There would have been little chance of an intentional walk to Nelson Cruz, falling behind to David Murphy would have been no big deal and a base-hit to the gap would not have ended the game.
If not for those barely there singles, everything would have been different.
“A hit is a hit, no matter how they are,” Mariano Rivera said. “… Still, they are hits. Can’t do anything. Just try to make your pitches, and I tried, and it didn’t work tonight.”
The bigger mistake might have been falling behind 3-0 to Murphy. According to baseballreference.com it was Rivera’s ninth 3-0 count of the season, and the only one that ended with a base hit. “I couldn’t work him,” Rivera said. “I had to make sure the pitches had to be around the plate.”
Said Derek Jeter: “Not too many guys hit too many balls hard off Mo. You tip your hat to them because they had some good at-bats, and they were able to get that big hit there at the end.”
• The base hit by Murphy was supposed to be a fastball away. “I don’t know if it got away, though,” Rivera said.
• A.J. Burnett on his back: “It was in my mind all night. I had to really not overdo it out there and try to stay within myself. I tried to stay out there as long as I could… It never was an issue, but it’s always in the back of your mind.”
• Burnett’s only significant mistake was also to Murphy, a first-pitch fastball that was — like Rivera’s pitch — supposed to be away. “It’s the only pitch that I’d take back tonight,” Burnett said.
• Boone Logan and Dave Robertson continue to impress at the back of the bullpen. Big outs from both of them tonight, especially Robertson.
• Even after the game, Joe Girardi was a little fiery about the overturned call on Lance Berkman at first base. “Never seen that overturned,” Girardi said. “It’s a tough call for both guys because the first-base umpire is going to be somewhat blocked out, and I don’t see how the home-plate umpire sees it either.”
• Girardi had no problem with Nick Swisher’s approach to that play at the plate in the fifth inning. He kind of did a half slide, half leap thing. Whatever it was, didn’t work. “I was OK with it,” Girardi said.
• Girardi was prepared to use Rivera for two innings, “if the first inning was easy.”
• Francisco Cervelli is hitting .317 with runners in scoring position after going 1-for-3 tonight.
Associated Press photos