Last night was decided on a bases-loaded walk. Tonight it was a fly ball lost in the roof and a bad play on the mound.
“We kind of stole one last night,” Joe Girardi said. “We gave it back tonight.”
To put it another way.
“I don’t feel like they won it,” Russell Martin said. “We just gave it to them.”
The fly ball to center
It was a routine out, hit sky high but infinitely catchable. Off the bat, it seemed to be no problem for Curtis Granderson, but as the ball came down, he put his hands out in the universal “I lost it” signal.
“Just missed it,” Granderson said. “It went up and I lost it right away. Picked it back up, and then right when it was on the way back down, couldn’t find it. And then right at the last minute, when I finally found it, I was too deep. So that was it. Just one of those things where, (I was) trying to find it, kept my eye on it the whole time, but it ended up disappearing up there in the top of the roof here in the dome.”
Granderson said he wasn’t sure whether he lost it in the white of the roof or in the sudden background of the catwalk.
“I knew I was in the vicinity,” he said. “And I thought I had got to the point where, once it does finally come out, I’ll be there. But I ended up being about 10 feet too deep.”
The chopper to the mound
With the bases loaded after the lost fly ball, Boone Logan got exactly what he needed. A chopper to the mound was at least going to be an easy out at the plate, but both Logan and Martin thought it would have been a 1-2-3 double play.
“I was so geared up to get him out, I was more focused on making my pitch,” Logan said. “When he hit it, it caught me off-guard. The hardest ball to catch would be the hopper over a pitcher’s head like that. You can’t really judge it well, and you’re so focused on the pitch, it kind of throws you off a little bit.”
That’s why Logan hesitated. He said he’s had other balls like that, and they always give him trouble for whatever reason. Girardi said Logan pitched “outstanding” and Granderson said Logan “did everything we needed” on the mound, but that ball gave him trouble. He said it wasn’t a funny hop off the turf, just a bad reaction on the mound.
“There was nothing quirky about my error,” Logan said. “Take that away, we win the game.”
• Granderson had his left ankle iced and wrapped after the game. He said he felt it all night after being hit by a pitch in the first inning, but it was never swollen and the ice was more preventative than anything.
• Obviously the bright side of tonight’s game was Bartolo Colon, who struck out a season-high nine during his 6.1 innings. “It was back like the Bartolo from earlier in the year,” Martin said. “He mixed in his pitches a bit more today. I thought he had a better feel for the changeup and the slider as well.”
• Colon also made the point that he was throwing more four-seamers than usual, and he was able to use that pitch up in the zone for some outs. After back-to-back disappointing outings, this was a big dose of encouragement. “I was extremely happy with the way he threw,” Girardi said. “That’s what we want to see. That’s the good thing about it. We didn’t score a lot of runs, but he threw the ball really well.”
• Girardi said he pulled Colon because he’d already reached a 105 pitches, which was a season high. “That’s the manager’s decision,” Colon said. “I don’t even think about it. Whatever he wants me to do, that’s what I do.”
• It was Ivan Nova’s right ankle that was hurt tonight. Apparently he believes it’s not too serious.
• Rafael Soriano went 1.1 innings in his first rehab outing. He pitched a perfect first inning, but allowed a home run, single and sacrifice bunt in the second. He struck out one and threw a total of 21 pitches.
• Eric Chavez went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game as Tampa’s DH. He was forced out at second base after the walk.
• Martin made the final out on a fly ball to deep left field. Off the bat, I thought it was gone. Martin knew otherwise. “I didn’t hit it square so I knew that it probably wasn’t going to go out,” he said.
• Brett Gardner was 2-for-3 with two more stolen bases and his batting average is up to .290. He has 13 hits and three walks in his past 25 plate appearances for a .640 on-base percentage since the all-star break.
• Gardner’s been successful on his past 15 stolen bases attempts and has six steals in his past six games.
• Robinson Cano hit his first home run since his Home Run Derby show. I didn’t see it, but there were stories floating around about the show Cano put on in batting practice before tonight’s game. Apparently it was a sight to see. This is what I miss writing pregame notes!
• Colon was 8-0 in his first 12 career starts against the Rays, but he’s won only one of his past seven starts against them. His nine strikeouts were his most since April 26, 2007 against the Rays as a member of the Angels. His 105 pitches were his most since July 18, 2007, also against the Rays.
• How hard is it in the American League East? Tonight is only the third time since May 11 that the Rays have picked up a game in the standings on both the Yankees and the Red Sox in a single day.
• A final word from Girardi: “We kind of gave them the game. You’re going to have physical errors and you’re going to lose balls in the lights. That’s going to happen sometimes in a dome. That doesn’t mean that I’m happy about it. It happens. It’s baseball. These guys aren’t going to be perfect. They bust their butt every day and I’m proud of them for doing that. You don’t like these type of losses.”
Associated Press photos