Game 53 Recap: Yankees 5 Mariners 3 (11 Innings)

Drew vs SEA How 'bout that Stephen Drew, huh?  Ain't he clutch?  His 9th-inning, 2-out double to tie the game was the exact type of hit the Yankees brought him here to get.  A clutch hit, a gritty hit, the type of hit that only the veteraniest of veterans could get.  It gave the Yankees new life heading into extra innings last night, new life that they would use to steal a victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Yankees did actually hold a brief lead in this game.  They got a run on a Mark Teixeira 2-out RBI double after a pair of walks to Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez in the top of the 3rd.  Funny thing about those walks, they both came on check swings and neither of them looked like walks to Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon, who had a 5-star tirade arguing his case with the umpiring crew.  That ejection and the ejection of catcher Mike Zunino caused a bit of a delay for starter Mike Montgomery, who was making his MLB debut, and that may have had something to do with the pitch placement on Teix's double.

Other than that sequence, Montgomery was lights out against the Yankee lineup.  They only put 1 more runner on base against him after the 3rd, and when all was said and done Montgomery twirled 6 innings of 1-run ball.  Not a bad debut.  It was going to take an equally solid effort to match him, and fortunately for the Yankees that's what CC Sabathia gave them.

It was't pretty.  He gave up a leadoff double to Austin Jackson in the 1st, gave back the lead in the bottom of the 3rd on a trio of singles, and had at least 2 runners on base in every inning except the 2nd.  He also came up with some big outs when he needed them.  Like the strikeout of Kyle Seager to end the 3rd, the inning-ending double play ball he coaxed out of Wellington Castillo to kill the 4th, and the big bunt groundball out he got on Seager to end the 5th.  It wasn't pretty and it wasn't efficient, but CC pitched into the 6th with only the 1 run against him.

Until Joe went to the David Carpenter well again with multiple runners on base in a tie game and fell into the well like an idiot again.  Carpenter relieved Sabathia with 2 outs and runners on the corners in the 6th, got ahead of Jackson 1-2, and then couldn't put him away.  Jackson stroked a ribbie double to center to put Seattle ahead and put the final stain on CC's line.  What more can you say about Carpenter?  The guy can't get people out.

Which brought us to the 9th, when Fernando Rodney came on for the save and set the stage for Drew's heroics.  He walked Chase Headley to start the inning and then got 2 outs before Brian McCann pinch hit for JRM and singled to left to put runners on the corners for Drew.  After falling behind 1-2, Drew got a fastball down and in but not down or in enough.  He got his hands in and smoked it into right for the game-tying double.  It was a truly nice piece of hitting, one of the few we've seen from him this year, and it forced the game into extras.

The Yanks wasted a bases loaded, 1 out situation in the 10th when Carlos Beltran banged into a double play , and seemingly did the same thing with Didi Gregorius' leadoff single in the 11th when Big Mac GIDP'd.  But Drew got a 2-out rally started with a base hit, Gardner doubled to put the go-ahead run at third, and Garrett Jones (against a lefty, mind you) smacked a 3-run home run to put the Yanks ahead by 3.  Considering the starting and finishing bats involved, it was the most improbable rally of the season.

And Andrew Miller made it stand up, albeit not without giving Seattle 1 of their runs back and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Nelson Cruz.  He struck him out to earn the save and the bizarro Yankee train keeps rolling along.

Game Notes:

- Big night for Jones coming on as a pinch hitter for starting left fielder Chris Young. 2-3, the big homer, 3 RBI.  He needed a game like that.

- Not a bad night for Drew either. 2 big hits, drove in the tying run, scored the winning run.  He's got 3 hits and been on base twice in each of the 2 games since his little break.

- CC's line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 94 pitches, 62 strikes, 14 whiffs.  Make of that whatever you will.  I'm done saying he pitched better than his line indicated.

- Shoutout to the post-Carpenter/pre-Miller bullpen crew.  Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, Dellin Betances, and Justin Wilson all threw scoreless innings with 5 combined strikeouts.  Wilson made a terrific diving catch to start a double play on a bunt attempt in the 10th too.

- Tough night for A-Rod: 0-5 with a BB and a K.  He was the only Yankee to play the whole game and not get a hit.