A few things went right for the Yankees on Friday night and into Saturday morning, but a few things went very wrong and those things cost them the game.
“Any time you have an opportunity to win a game and you don’t do it, you look at the missed opportunities,” Derek Jeter said. “We come right back later today and play again. You just can’t let this one affect you.”
The Yankees stranded 18 base runners. They had the go-ahead run at third base one out in the 12th inning, but Jeter grounded to first and Colin Curtis struck out swinging. They had the go-ahead run at third again in the 13th, but Jorge Posada lined out to second and — after a walk loaded the bases — Chad Moeller flied out to center.
“We left a lot of guys on base,” Jeter said. “When you’re playing good teams and you get those opportunities, you’ve got to find a way to get them in. We weren’t able to do that.”
Chad Gaudin gave up the game-winning Nelson Cruz home run in the 13th, but arguably the more crushing home run was the one Cruz hit in the eighth. Joba Chamberlain tried to start the at-bat with a slider. He wanted to throw it for a strike, but this was too good of a strike.
“It was a pitch we felt like we could go in and get ahead and then try to expand later,” Chamberlain said. “… We thought that was a good plan of attack from there, and he jumped at it. He hadn’t swung at the first pitch any of the other at-bats, so we just felt like that was a good one to try to expand from there, but we obviously didn’t get to that point.”
Here’s Chamberlain speaking after the game.
• Joe Girardi actually said he wouldn’t rule out using any of his relievers tomorrow. The only Friday night reliever who absolutely won’t pitch on Saturday is Phil Hughes. Even Mariano Rivera — after two innings on just 23 pitches, 20 for strikes — isn’t necessarily out of the mix. “There are a lot of times a closer will throw 25 pitches in an inning,” Girardi said. “I wouldn’t say that we won’t have him. We’ll see.”
• As for his use of setup men — Dave Robertson in the sixth, Kerry Wood in the seventh and Chamberlain in the eighth — Girardi said the order was based entirely on matchups. That’s more or less the way he’s been doing it since Wood arrived at the trade deadline. It worked perfectly except for the one pitch to Cruz.
• On the missed call in the second inning — when Ian Kinsler was clearly tagged out on a stolen base attempt — Jeter said second-base umpire Alfonso Marquez told him the tag wasn’t made. Jeter said he made it. “That was so long ago,” Jeter said. “That was four hours ago. Three hours ago? I don’t even know. It happens. People make mistakes. We had a lot of opportunities.”
• Jeter fouled a ball off his knee, but obviously said he never considered coming out of the game. He was walking with a noticeable limp, but said his knee felt “good.” Seems like a safe bet that he’ll play tomorrow.
• Javier Vazquez was not happy tonight. He didn’t pitch too badly — some weak hits and the bad call at second hurt him — but he was still pulled after just 88 pitches. “I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed again,” he said.
• Phil Hughes said he will probably throw two light side sessions between now and his start on Wednesday. “I was just hoping to get in whenever,” he said. “I’d rather get in the game and throw a side tomorrow. I was fine with it. Ninth inning of a tied game, but you just throw strikes and it went alright.”
• The only team before the Rangers to use 11 pitches in a game was Seattle in 1992. That game was against Texas. The Rangers previous high of 10 pitchers in a game came on September 1, 1993, and Darren Oliver was one of those pitchers in his major league debut. Oliver also pitched tonight. That’s pretty insane.
• The combined 19 pitchers set an American League record and was one away from tying the Major League record. The previous high in the AL was 18 pitchers in a Yankees-Blue Jays game on September 22, 2007.
• Vazquez got a strikeout tonight, and has now recorded at least one strikeout in 349 consecutive appearances, matching Dwight Gooden for the third-longest streak since 1920. The longest is Nolan Ryan (382) followed by Randy Johnson (351).
• Alex Rodriguez had a two-run double off C.J. Wilson for the Yankees first two runs. He was 0-for-12 in his career against Wilson until that hit.
• Mark Teixeira reached 100 RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.
• Boone Logan walked the only batter he faced, but that batter didn’t score giving him a 23rd consecutive scoreless appearance. That’s a the second longest for a Yankees pitcher since 1920.
Associated Press photos of Chamberlain, Girardi and Vazquez