The Yankees are paying attention to what’s happening around them. They were well aware that tonight was a chance to increase their lead in the American League East, and they were well aware that they had their chances to win.
“You want to win this one,” Robinson Cano said. “Especially because the Red Sox lost today.”
The Yankees had just four hits tonight and got their only run on Nick Swisher’s home run. It wasn’t enough offense, even on a night when the pitching staff was tremendous except for two costly mistakes.
“It was a curveball that fell out of my hand a little bit, and I couldn’t get it down,” Nova said. “I didn’t give Russell Martin a chance to catch it. That happens. I don’t want that to happen to me, but it’s going to happen.”
Martin never really had a chance to stop it.
“It’s a curveball that backed up and that’s the one thing you can’t really predict as a catcher,” Joe Girardi said. “You can anticipate down, down, block the ball, block the ball, but that one backed up and it happens.”
The home run
Cory Wade pitched out of trouble in the 11th, but the first batter he faced in the 12th was Luis Rodriguez, who already had two doubles. The 2-1 pitch was a changeup, and Rodriguez hammered it to right.
“It’s rough,” Wade said. “Everybody’s going out and contributing and did what they needed to do, and it came down to me and I made a mistake.”
The changeup has been a good pitch for Wade, and he didn’t second guess the pitch selection. He just missed his spot.
“I threw the pitch essentially right down the middle of the plate,” Wade said. “He gets paid to hit, and he did exactly what he’s supposed to… Nova shut it down for, I think, seven innings, and everybody came out of the bullpen and threw the ball really well. It’s just unfortunate that I had to be the lone wolf to go out there and struggle a little bit.”
• Cano was hobbling quite a bit in the clubhouse, but x-rays were negative and he seems fairly certain that he’ll play on Friday. The pitch in the 12th inning hit him right in the side of the right foot. “I knew it was a lot of pain, but I didn’t think it was broke,” he said. “… We can do ice treatment tomorrow and be ready to go Friday.”
• Girardi said the plan is still for Alex Rodriguez to play on Friday. Rodriguez came through fielding drills with no problems.
• The Yankees hit several balls hard tonight, but they never got much going against Jason Vargas. Obviously they made a mistake trying to score Andruw Jones in the third, but Girardi seemed more focused on deep fly balls that didn’t quite get out of the yard. “Think about the ball Grandy hit, the ball Tex hit,” Girardi said. “We hit some balls good. I thought we were patient on Vargas, I thought the guys put good at-bats. I thought he just located well. They made him work, we just didn’t get hits.”
• Nova came out of the game after 87 pitches. Although he acknowledged it was the right call to bring in Dave Robertson, he also felt strong enough to keep going. “I threw 80 something pitches,” he said. “So I was feeling really good. I think if we got two more runs, at least a run or two more, I think I can finish the game. But unfortunately, we don’t hit today, and I’ve got to be out of the game.”
• Speaking of the decision to pull Nova, Robertson did it again, getting out of the eighth with a shallow fly ball and a strikeout to strand runners at the corners. “I’ve always said he has the ability to strike people out,” Girardi said. “You can bring him in tough situations and he did it again tonight.”
• The Yankees were held to one run or less for the 16th time this season, and the third time in their past six games. They are 4-10 in extra innings this season.
• Derek Jeter extended his season-high hitting streak to 13 games and is batting .368 in his past 29 games, since August 11. He’s hitting .346 in his past 46 games, and he’s hitting .332 since returning from the disabled list on July 4.
• This is Jeter’s 16th consecutive season with 150 hits, tying Pete Rose for the second-longest 150-hit streak in baseball history. Hank Aaron has the record with 17 straight.
• Swisher has eight home runs in his past 19 games dating back to August 23. He his just five homers in his first 60 games this season.
• Girardi didn’t know Pedro Feliciano had surgery until reporters told him about it after the game. “I would be surprised if he pitched next year,” Girardi said. “But I’d have to hear the details.”
Associated Press photos