Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yankees reclaim first place in thrilling fashion

After a tough loss on Monday night, the New York Yankees looked like they were heading to an easy win over the Tampa Bay Rays. We should have known better.

Games between these two rivals are never easy. After staking rookie Ivan Nova to a 6-0 lead, the Yankees watched helplessly as the rookie proceeded to give the game away. After a leadoff homer by Carlos Pena, Nova gave up hit after hit and failed to secure that elusive third out in the 5th inning that would have left him in line for the victory. Instead, he watched Boone Logan give up what could have been a deflating home run to Willy Aybar for a Tampa lead.

But the Yankees battled back, thanks to a ribbie double from Most Valuable Player candidate Robinson Cano and a couple of late-inning heroics by some unsung heroes. It started with Curtis Granderson, not having the inaugural Yankee season he hoped for, making a fantastic catch to help David Robertson send the game into extra innings. Jorge Posada then came off the bench to hit a monster blast that you had to see to believe. Finally, young Greg Golson threw a perfect strike to third to catch Carl Crawford inexplicably trying to steal third base with two outs and help Mariano Rivera secure the victory. The last two innings of the game were probably the most exciting of this baseball season.

After the devastating defeat on Monday, the Yankees desperately needed this victory. The relief was palpable in the clubhouse and in Joe Girardi's postgame interview. Another loss to their rivals would have sunk the Yankees further in the division and opened them up to a flood of questions about their ability to succeed in the playoffs. If they can clinch the series today, it saves what has so far been a miserable road trip, and possibly the season.

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