Obviously the pie goes to the guy who drove in the game-winning run, and Mark Teixeira earned his postgame smash in the face by A.J. Burnett. This was a wild night, and Teixeira capped it. But make no mistake, this win belonged to Curtis Granderson.
“He’s been big the whole year for us,” Jorge Posada said. “For him to tie it, it was fitting.”
Forty percent of Granderson’s RBI this season (14 of 35) have either tied a game or given the Yankees the lead. He had four hits tonight, none of them bigger than his ninth-inning single that scored Chris Dickerson and pulled the Yankees even.
“Try to get something I can handle, but also understand what’s going to happen in the at-bat,” Granderson said. “It was one of those things that, I may or may not get something that’s my pitch. I may have to be disciplined enough and lay off his pitch, and it’s a battle. Can you trust yourself enough to do that? Can you trust that the one pitch you’re going to hit, especially with a guy that possibly throws 95 at you, that you’re going to be ready for it? A little mental battle, but at the same time, just go ahead and try and put the ball in play hard somewhere.”
When he got to first, Granderson had a different challenge. Teixeira said his first thought when he got to the plate was that he had to give Granderson time to steal second base. Teixeira said the Yankees knew Frank Francisco was slow to the plate, and Granderson had a chance to get himself into scoring position.
“It is (worth the risk),” Granderson said. “You’ve got to understand the situation, too. I know Arencibia throws well behind the plate, and I know they had shifted, so the guys are definitely in position to be able to cover the base, but it was one of those gambles. Hey, if I get there, hopefully any ball that Teixeira puts in play I could possibly score on.”
That’s exactly how it played out. Teixeira got a game-winning single off Juan Rivera’s glove (Teixeira’s fourth walk-off RBI with the Yankees). CC Sabathia got his 24th complete-game victory (Sabathia’s third with the Yankees). Posada, Russell Martin and Robinson Cano also played their part in the comeback, but the night belonged to Granderson.
“This guy’s been unbelievable,” Joe Girardi said.
Here’s the early part of Granderson’s postgame interview.
And here’s part of Posada.
• One pitch, one swing and one sprint from first to second. That was Posada’s contribution to tonight’s win, and it was pivotal. His pinch-hit double set the stage for the final rally. Girardi had told Posada, when the inning started, to be ready just in case. “You want to hit a strike and be aggressive,” Posada said. “It’s just a matter of getting a good pitch to hit – and I did.”
• Posada on his decision to go for second: “As soon as he falls down, there’s that doubt of, ‘Can I get to second base?’ The ball rolled away from him enough to get to second.”
• Posada said he was only going to pinch hit if Brett Gardner made an out. If Gardner reached base, Eduardo Nunez was scheduled to bunt him over.
• Granderson had the game-tying single, but he also had the leadoff double that started the Yankees two-run eighth. Cano drove Granderson home with a two-out double. Cano’s past four RBI have been Granderson.
• Martin was 2-for-4 with the second-inning home run that gave the Yankees an early one-run lead, and with the two-out, eighth-inning single that pulled them within a run. Martin is three home runs shy of his combined home run total for the past two years.
• According to Elias, Sabathia’s was the first nine-inning, complete-game win by a Yankees starter since Sabathia himself did it on May 8, 2009 in Baltimore. The Yankees went 341 games without a nine-inning, complete-game win by a starter, the longest such stretch in American League history.
• Sabathia allowed four runs on seven hits — six of them singles — in the third and fourth innings. Otherwise, he pitched seven scoreless, allowing just one base runner. “They didn’t hit the ball hard, but they’ll look like line drives in the box score,” Sabathia said. “You need to continue to make pitches and try to get outs.”
• I liked this Sabathia quote about Posada: “Sado’s had so many big moments in this organization and been here a long time. Everybody is making a big deal out of everything he does now, but we expect it out of him.”
• Give credit where it’s due, Ricky Romero pitched a nice game tonight. “Our guys talk about his fastball moves all over the place and his changeup is like a split,” Girardi said. “Seemed like we got a hit every inning but we weren’t able to put a couple together, that’s how good his stuff was. Our guys just kept chipping away and putting some pretty good at-bats, and it’s a big win.”
• Girardi had nothing new to add about Rafael Soriano. “I’ll wait to see what Andrews says,” he said. “I didn’t anticipate, when he had the setback yesterday, that we’d have him for a while anyway.”
Associated Press photos