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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Yankees win with their brains

By Andrew Marchand

The most important move of Wednesday's game was not a swing or a catch, it was a whisper.

In the sixth, the score was tied at four and there was one out and runners were on first and third. With Ichiro Suzuki up, first base coach Mick Kelleher noticed that Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was inching over a few steps toward first. So Kelleher told Lyle Overbay to be careful if the ball is hit to the right side.

With the fast Ichiro at the plate, the only probable way for an inning ending doubleplay that would keep the game tied was if Altuve were to tag Overbay and throw to first.

After Kelleher made his point to Overbay, wouldn't you know it, the ball was hit to Altuve and Overbay stopped in tracks. Instead of running into a possible, quick 4-3 doubleplay that would have prevented Eduardo Nunez from scoring, Overbay paused the action. The Astros eventually got their dobuleplay, but it was a 4-3-6 version.

This allowed Nunez to score the go-ahead run in the 5-4 Yankees. The fact that Overbay had played in 1,348 previous regular season games may have helped.

"Veterans have been through a lot situations through their careers," Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes when you have a lot of veterans you have to manage days off a little bit more, but they make heads up plays, they know how to play the game. They are not going to get frazzled by situations. That is really important because those situations are going to come up time and time again during the season."

With the win, the Yankees are 17-10 overall and 16-7 since April 7th. The second number ties them with the Boston Red Sox for the best record over the last three-plus weeks. They have won six of their last seven, finishing up a 16-straight game span in which they went 11-5 and won four of five series.

"We won a lot of games so I'm pleased," Girardi said.

He had to be happy with his first base coach and his replacement first baseman, who continues to help the Yankees win.