GAME 76: It was a game that went from a stinker, to a thriller, to a punch in the throat. Down 6-0 — thanks in great part to shaky defense — the Yankees rally to tie it, fail to score runners in scoring position, then throw it away in the bottom of the ninth. Literally.
Yangervis Solarte‘s throwing error on a Melky Cabrera bunt allowed Jose Reyes (who doubled to lead off the inning) to score from second base for a Blue Jays walk-off win, 7-6.
“That was an ugly game to watch, and if you’re a fan, you should probably get your money back”.
— Mark Teixeria
Former Yankees farmhand Dioner Navarro broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning by hammering a David Phelps curveball into the seats in right-center for a 3-0 Toronto lead. Then defensive miscues opened the door for 3 more Blue Jay runs in the 5th, and a 6-0 lead. All six runs were charged to Phelps.
In the Yankees half of the 6th, Derek Jeter led off with a home run, his second of the season. The New York bats finally awoke in the 7th. Brian McCann doubled and Brian Roberts clubbed a 2-run blast to left. After Brett Gardner‘s double to left chased Toronto starter Mark Buehrle, Dustin McGowan came to walk Jeter. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a sharp single to left, scoring Garner and tightening the score, 6-4. Mark Teixeira then grounded into the shift, but shortstop Jose Reyes, positioned over second base, made a low throw to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who fell backwards into a charging Teixeira. Tex’s forearm met Encarnacion’s noggin at full force, almost knocking him out. Encarnacion never caught the ball, and laid motionless on the Rogers Centre turf while Jeter and Ellsbury both raced home, knotting the score at 6. The Yanks sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring 5.
Dellin Betances pitched into and out of trouble in the bottom of the 8th, loading the bases with one out, but induced a grounder to second baseman Roberts, who threw home for the force. Then struck out Munenori Kawasaki to end the inning. Adam Warren took over in the 9th, allowing a lead-off double to Reyes. The Melkman then laid down a bunt between third base and the mound, and Solarte’s throw to Brian Roberts, covering first, sailed just wide of Robert’s grasp allowing Reyes to jog down the third base line with the winning run.
Here’s the box score and recap.
GAMEDAY NOTES: The loss drops the Yankees to a 39-37 record and 3.5 games behind the Jays in the AL East. The series wraps up tomorrow with Hiroki Kuroda charged to stop the team’s 4-game losing streak.
MEMORY LANE: On June 24, 1980, the Yankees pounded Boston Red Sox pitching in a 10-5 victory at Yankee Stadium. New York clubbed 5 home runs — by Graig Nettles, Rick Cerone, Bob Watson, and Reggie Jackson. After a shaky start from Ed Figueroa, Rudy May earned the win, with Goose Gossage picking up his 11th save of the 1980 season. With a combined total of 15 runs, 23 hits and 8 walks (7 for New York), the game took a very manageable 2:54 to play. Don Zimmer managed the Red Sox, Dick Howser skippered the Yanks … On this day in 1992, Commissioner Fay Vincent permanently bans Yankees relief pitcher Steve Howe from baseball after he pleads no contest to misdemeanor charge of attempting to buy cocaine. The ban is subsequently overturned and Vincent resigns September 7 after a vote of no confidence from owners. Howe will pitch for four more years. (Source: Today In Baseball History) … On April 28, 2006 Howe was killed when his pickup truck rolled on a Coachella, California roadway, about 130 miles east of Los Angeles. Here’s a great read on Steve Howe from New York Times columnist Murray Chass “A Life Filled With Trouble Comes to a Sad End” …