Commentary

Yanks' bullpen lets sure thing slip away

Robinson Cano thought the Bombers were destined to win Thursday -- until they didn't

Updated: September 9, 2011, 10:30 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

BALTIMORE -- Robinson Cano didn't think there was any way the Yankees could lose on Thursday.

Not after he nailed a runner at home on an eye-popping relay throw in the seventh and Curtis Granderson cut down another runner at the plate in the eighth.

If momentum plays any role over the course of a six-month season, Cano certainly thought the Yankees had it on their side at Camden Yards.

"I said, 'Wow, we've got this game.' Because I don't think I've ever seen that before," the second baseman said.

But a sure thing, to Cano at least, ultimately turned into an extra-inning loss.

And for that, the blame lies partially on the arms of a tired Yankees bullpen.

On a day the Yankees failed to get a hit after the fourth inning, the relief couldn't pick up the slack.

Six of Joe Girardi's relievers combined to allow two runs (a third was charged to starter Ivan Nova) on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings in a 5-4 10-inning loss. All you need to know about Thursday's relief performance is this: The Orioles batted .470 (8-for-17) after Nova left the game.

"It's part of the game. You don't like losing like that, but it's always going to happen," reliever Cory Wade said. "You've just got to bounce back and move on to the next day."

The afternoon started to unravel when Boone Logan came on in relief of Nova in the sixth and promptly gave up an RBI double to lefty Chris Davis, cutting the Yanks' lead to 4-3.

After Luis Ayala pitched the Yanks out of trouble in the sixth, lefty Aaron Laffey walked the first and only batter he faced in the seventh.

Wade, in relief of Laffey, gave up a double to Vladimir Guerrero that looked like it would tie the game at 4-4. But Cano's relay throw from shallow center beat Nick Markakis home and Francisco Cervelli somehow held on to the ball after Markakis barreled into him at the plate.

"It was amazing," Wade said.

Amazing happened again an inning later when Granderson threw Mark Reynolds out at home following a bloop single from Chris Davis.

After watching that play, Cano said to himself the Yankees were going to leave Baltimore with a win.

"We've got this game," he thought.

Didn't happen.

Rafael Soriano promptly allowed a game-tying single to Robert Andino in the eighth. Then Scott Proctor (remember that name, Yankees fans?) gave up a single to Nolan Reimold and walked Davis, setting the stage for Andino once again.

The second baseman drilled Proctor's hanging slider down the third-base line for the game-winning single in the 10th.

"It's a good at-bat [by Andino]," Proctor said. "He battled some pitches but again, you just have to execute."

Something the Yankees' pen failed to do Thursday afternoon.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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