Saturday, September 22, 2012
Nunez helped by error; Mesa off hook
By Ian Begley
What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Eduardo Nunez?
The infielder, after all, is known for his shaky glove.
On Saturday, though, Nunez actually benefited from an error. In a big way.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the 14th, Nunez hit a grounder to first that A's first baseman Brandon Moss couldn't handle. Nunez reached first safely, allowing Ichiro Suzuki to score the game-winning run in the Yankees' 10-9 come-from-behind win.
"It feels great. ... I never had a walk-off in my life," an ecstatic Nunez said after the game.
Nunez raised his hands above his head as he crossed first and was mobbed by teammates.
The win was even more sweet given the fact the Yanks trailed by four runs in the 13th but stormed back thanks in part to a two-run shot from Raul Ibanez.
The victory allowed the Yanks to stay a game ahead of Baltimore in AL East race.
"We needed it a lot," Nunez said. "... So we put it together."
Nunez also helped get rookie Melky Mesa off the hook.
Making his major league debut, Mesa made what could have been a costly mistake when he missed the bag rounding third on Alex Rodriguez's single with one out in the 14th.
Had he hit the bag, Mesa would have easily scored the winning run.
Instead, he had to scamper back to third. Shortly thereafter, he was gunned down at the plate on a force out.
"I just missed third base," Mesa said afterward. "[It was] bad [timing], a mistake."
All was forgotten, though, after Suzuki scored the game-winner.
"That would have been a tough one for this kid to swallow," a relieved Girardi said after the game.
Perhaps realizing the enormousness of the moment for Mesa, Girardi gave him the lineup card from the game. Mesa seemed a bit caught off guard when Girardi handed it to him at his locker.
Will he hang on to it? Maybe hang it on his wall?
"Oh yeah," Mesa said with a smile. "I'm supposed to."