Brian Gordon drew a crowd for a good while around his locker. This was really his day, the day for which he waited so long.
Yes, the 15-year minor-leaguer had three relief outings with Texas as a September call-up in 2008. But this was a start for the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. The 32-year-old righty got a no-decision in the 3-2, 12-inning win over the Rangers, but he did well, allowing two runs and seven hits in 5 1-3. He used a cutter and a 68-71 mph curve among other pitches. He began going to that slow hook as an out pitch when he was on the mound as a kid.
“There have been a lot of highs; there have been a lot of lows,” Gordon said. “This has got to be at the top of all the highs. It was a very special day for myself and my family. … Hopefully I can stick around for a little bit.”
He decided on a sort of career change before the 2007 season, feeling he had hit a plateau as an outfielder, although he was a .274 career hitter with 118 homers.
“After 10 years of trying it with no big-league time and bouncing around from organization to organization, it just didn’t seem too promising,” said Gordon, who was born in West Point. “I was starting a family. So I was like, I’m at peace with retirement. But I loved to pitch when I was kid. Let’s give it a shot.”
Now he has earned another start, this one an interleague start in Cincinnati Tuesday night. You know what means? No DH.
“You spend 10 years grinding it out and then you decide to pitch, and now you get your first big-league at-bat,” Gordon said. “I guess that’s the way I like to operate.”
*Jorge Posada extended his hitting streak to nine games by delivering an RBI double as a righty batter. Now he becomes a pinch hitter for the six-game NL trip, unless Mark Teixeira gets a rest from first in one game.
But Posada is encouraged at the moment: “I feel a lot of things are coming. I’m working counts well and good things are happening.”
*Andruw Jones started in left as usual with a lefty going. But Brett Gardner came on in the ninth and had two singles in extra innings against lefty Michael Kirkman, including the walk-off hit in the 12th.
“I never worry about him against lefties,” Joe Girardi said. “I’m just trying to keep Andruw going.”
*New righty reliever Cory Wade has been great since coming up yesterday, throwing three perfect innings in the two games, including the final two in this one. Russell Martin used to catch him with the Dodgers.
“He’s probably even better than the last time I saw him,” Martin said. “He reminds me of 2008. He had a great year in 2008. He looks like he’s got his stuff. He’s got command of his changeup, his fastball. He’s the type of guy who can throw any pitch, any count. That’s why he’s tough to hit.”
Hector Noesi, David Robertson, Mariano Rivera and Wade combined to go 6 2-3 scoreless innings, retiring 19 of 22. Yankees relievers haven’t been charged with a run in their last six outings, covering 18 innings.
*The Yankees bounced back well from the Boston sweep, ending the homestand with six wins in seven tries. They are 19-9 since May 17. They are also the first big-league team since 1958 to win 18 of their first 21 day games. The last team to do it? The Yankees, of course. Robinson Cano has been on base in all the day games.
Now it’s on to another day game, Friday in Chicago against the Cubs, the start of 15 straight against the NL.