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By Gary W. Marchese Jr.
Bronx, NY (Aug 14) – The New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by the score of 9-2 on Saturday afternoon. Phil Hughes made the start in what could have been an audition to stay in the rotation. Hughes pitched well and did nothing to make the decision any easier on the Yankees. The decision actually was made for the Yankees after the game. It was discovered that Freddy Garcia had a kitchen accident and cut him; he will not be able to start on Sunday and for now is out of the rotation. The bats came alive with Jorge Posada having the biggest day. Derek Jeter also had a good day.
Hughes pitched six innings giving up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out six. Hughes improved his record to 3-4. Cory Wade pitched two innings giving up one hit, he struck out one, and Hector Noesi pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout.
Brett Gardner had two hits, Jeter had two hits and Curtis Granderson had two hits, an RBI and a walk. Mark Teixeira had two hits and an RBI, Robinson Cano had two hits and a walk and Nick Swisher had three walks. Eric Chavez had a hit, RBI, a walk, Posada had three hits, and six RBI and Russell Martin had a hit.
Cano and Teixeira had doubles. Granderson and Posada had homeruns. Granderson hit his 33rd of the season which ties him for the major league lead with Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. Posada hit a grand slam, which was the tenth of his career. The Yankees were 2-11 with runners in scoring position and they left 11 men on base. Gardner was picked off and Jeter made an error.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two run single from Posada. In the fifth inning Granderson hit a solo homerun to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Posada hit a grand slam to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead. The Rays tried to fight back and they scored two runs in the sixth inning to make it a 7-2 lead for the Yankees. Desmond Jennings hit a solo homerun and Ben Zobrist had an RBI groundout. In the bottom of the sixth the Yankees got the two runs right back. Teixeira had an RBI double and Chavez grounded into a force out scoring another run. The Yankees had a 9-2 lead and that is how the game would end.
The Yankees record is now 72-46, they have evened up the three game series. The Yankees lost on Friday night and won on Saturday. The rubber game will be on Sunday weather permitting. The Yankees were supposed to send Garcia to the hill but he was taken out of the rotation with a cut on his hand. He had a kitchen mishap and the Yankees think will miss just one start. It worked out well for the Yankees for now as they were about to make a decision on eliminating one of their starters from the rotation.
The Yankees have been using a six-man rotation for a couple of weeks now and it seemed to be Hughes against Burnett. Hughes had had two good starts in a row as Burnett continues to struggle. It does not matter right now, as everyone will stay in their current positions until Garcia gets back.
The Yankees currently trail the Red Sox by one and a half games in the AL East. The Red Sox were playing on the West Coast and depending on the outcome; it would either be a one or two game deficit in the standings. The Yankees lead the wild card by eight games over the Anaheim Angels. Posada had this to say after the game “It’s special, I got an opportunity today to play. It’s tough to sit around. It’s not easy to be sitting here and looking at everybody playing. It’s tough.” Posada had not played in six days since informed at Fenway Park that he would no longer be the regular DH.
Girardi said, “I said to him that day in Boston that he still was going to play a role on the team and I meant it. I knew he was itching to get back in there.” Posada talking about the fans, the Yankees had a sellout crowd today said “They’ve been so supportive , the fans are a big reason why I love playing the game, especially here. They deserve a lot of credit. They’ve supported me all throughout my career. They were a big part for me today.”
I’m extremely happy,” Jeter said. “Jorge has a lot of pride. You are talking about someone that’s used to playing every day for a long time. He has been working extremely hard, and he had a huge day. That’s not easy to do when you haven’t played for a while, to come in and be productive.” Jeter has been quiet but Posada is his best friend on the team and you know it must have been bothering him also.
Granderson hit his fifth homerun in the last five games. Girardi wouldn’t commit to far down the line on Posada but said he will start on Sunday. Girardi said, “This guy is a beloved Yankee, and we all love him. At times, it has been a struggle for him, but he has never stopped working. For that, I’m extremely proud of him.”
Girardi and Posada have an interesting relationship, Girardi was the catcher when Posada came up and took his job. They have had their disagreements since Girardi has been the manager but they have seemed to work through everything. The bottom line with Posada is if he continues to be productive he will play more and if not he will ride the bench. Posada is in his swan song as a Yankees and it usually does not end well for a great player. Posada has been a great Yankee and it is very difficult to say goodbye to someone like that and for him to say goodbye.