Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Nationals 3
June, 16, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
What it means: That the Yankees eventually will hit with runners in scoring position -- even if it takes them all day, which it did. And even then, they needed two such hits to get the winning run home in Saturday's 5-3, 14-inning marathon victory over the Washington Nationals.
Derek Jeter got the first one, but Jayson Nix, on second base, had to hold up on the play and could only get to third. Then Jeter and Nix both scored on Mark Teixeira's double. The Yankees finished 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position but won the game.
Off the milk carton: And into the win column. Freddy Garcia made his first appearance since June 5 and only his second since May 21, entering the game in the 12th inning (and probably only because Joe Girardi had used all his bullpen except for David Robertson and Rafael Soriano). Garcia wound up pitching two hitless, scoreless innings to earn the win, his first of the year and first ever in relief.
No Wade! Cory Wade has been good practically all season. But on Saturday, asked to pitch the eighth inning of a one-run game, he grooved a two-out, 2-2 fastball, and Ian Desmond hit it a mile into the left-field seats to tie the game at 3. Presumably, Robertson wasn't available after making his first appearance in more than a month Friday night.
Wise move: When Girardi made a double switch in the eighth inning, he chose to send Nix to left field and shift DeWayne Wise -- who had just come in as a defensive replacement for Raul Ibanez -- to right, removing 10-time Gold Glove outfielder Andruw Jones, who did not seem pleased. But the move paid off with the next batter, when Adam LaRoche singled to right off Boone Logan and Wise gunned down Tyler Moore, trying to score from second, at the plate.
Questionable call: The TV replay showed Moore apparently got his hand on home plate ahead of Russell Martin's sweep tag, but ump Tim Timmons, in mid-leap, called Moore out.
Andy dandy again: It was another strong outing from Andy Pettitte, who used his array of sinkers, sliders and cutters to hold the Nats to just two runs and five hits over seven innings -- only to see all his good work go down the drain in the eighth after Girardi pulled him with only 95 pitches thrown.
Son, go to your room: The 40-year-old Pettitte schooled 19-year-old Bryce Harper in the mysteries of hitting the breaking ball, striking him out with sl-o-o-o-o-w sliders his first three times up. Pettitte probably has a tougher time pitching to his 17-year-old son, Josh. Harper finally made contact on his fourth at-bat, lining out to Curtis Granderson in deep left-center, but his humiliation continued at the hands of Clay Rapada, who caught Harper looking at a 3-2 slider in the 10th. The kid took it like a man, slamming his bat down in outrage. By the time he struck out for the fifth time, swinging against Garcia in the 12th, Harper looked ready to retire. And of course, he made the last out of the game, bouncing out to second with the tying runs on base in the 14th. Tough day.
Swisher Nick-ed up: Nick Swisher hobbled off the field after being tagged out at home in the sixth inning and was replaced in right field by Andruw Jones.
What's coming: So many ways to go. I'm thinking of writing on Garcia, but I'll figure it out while I'm in the clubhouse.
Tomorrow: A special Father's Day edition of "Face the Nation(als)," Ivan Nova (8-2, 4.64 ERA) versus fellow righty Edwin Jackson (3-3, 3.02), first pitch at 1:35 p.m. ET.