The Yankees got lucky. A dropped line drive was very nearly a triple play, but a routine throw sailed into right field, and instead the inning coming to abrupt end, it was just getting started. Down by one run in the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs and the heart of the order coming to the plate.
From that moment, the Yankees seemed unable to take advantage of anything.
They twice had the bases loaded with less than two outs and couldn’t get the ball out of the infield. Dave Robertson had Jose Bautista picked off between first and second and made the first error of his career. Three other relievers pitched three scoreless innings, but the Yankees stranded runner after runner, including a pair of leadoff walks.
“You can’t say we didn’t have our chances,” Nick Swisher said. “Because we had a lot of them tonight.”
The at-bats that truly hurt were the four with the bases loaded. Aside from Derek Jeter, who struck out on a pitch out of the zone — “I chased a bad pitch,” he said — the other three bases-loaded attempts were decided on one pitch.
Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez had their chances after that fifth-inning error. Both swung at fastballs inside. Teixeira popped his up. Rodriguez rolled his into a double play.
“He just threw a good inside fastball,” Teixeira said. “I didn’t get the head out… Just a bad at-bat.”
Swisher’s chance came immediately after Jeter’s strikeout. An error and two walks had loaded the bases, and Swisher went to the plate looking for a fastball. He got one, and he sent a routine grounder to first.
“It had more sink than I expected,” he said. “Just rolled it over.”
Here’s Robertson speaking after the game.
And here’s Joe Girardi.
• Another big game from Robinson Cano who was 2-for-3 with two walks and two home runs. It was his seventh career multi-homer game, and his first since one year ago to the day (April 29, 2010 in Baltimore).
• Robertson said his mistake was a simple matter of not setting his feet. He was thinking about Rajai Davis at third base and tried to turn quickly to throw to second. “That split second where I didn’t turn to set my feet, then I threw it into center field, it cost us some runs,” Robertson said. “… I screwed up tonight. There’s no one else to blame except me.”
• The two runs charged to Robertson were his first runs of the season.
• Scary moment in the third inning when Teixeira hit a sure single up the middle, only to see Ricky Romero catch it before it hit Romero in the head. “I’m glad I didn’t (get a hit), really,” Teixeira said. “I’m glad he caught it. If he doesn’t get his glove up there, it might have been ugly.”
• Freddy Garcia said he didn’t have a good feel for the ball tonight. “I just couldn’t throw a strike,” he said. This was easily his worst start of the year — five walks, 12 base runners in five innings — but he really did a nice job limiting the damage. Two home runs drove in the only runs on his watch.
• Garcia left frustrated with himself, but he also left feeling what many Yankees fans must have felt. “With this lineup I know we’re going to score some runs,” he said. “It didn’t happen today, but it’s part of the game.”
• Teixeira said his shoulder wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough. “I still felt it a little bit,” he said. “But it didn’t keep me from swinging, so that’s a really good sign.”
• Alex Rodriguez has had three hits and six strikeouts in the past five games, but Girardi seemed surprised to hear a question about his clean-up hitter struggling the past few days. “It’s what you go through as a hitter,” he said. Girardi said he doesn’t believe there’s any lingering impact from the oblique injury.
• Eleven men left on base was a season-high for the Yankees.
• The Yankees announced tonight that they’ve donated $500,000 to the tornado relief in the southern United States. Of the total, $250,000 will go to the Salvation Army and $250,000 to the Red Cross.
Associated Press photos