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June 15, 2005

The breaks, they're turning...
by Sean McNally

Also read SG's Finally, a comeback below

For most of the past three months, every break that could go the Yankees' way - didn't.

Then the ninth inning came tonight ...

Jeter led off with hard ground out to third, bringing up Bernie, who promptly drew a walk, bringing up Gary Sheffield.

Here’s where the train has jumped the tracks this season - until tonight.

Sheffield hit a screaming worm burner back up the middle off Pirate closer Jose Mesa, but right to Jack Wilson, who flipped to Jose Castillo who fired to first baseman Daryl Ward. Double play. Game over.

But, the breaks, they're turning ...

Tony Randazzo missed the call, ruling Sheffield safe. So with two outs, ARod singled Sheffield to third, bringing up Jorge Posada.

Fresh off a solo homer in the second, Posada blasted a double to right. Sheffield scores, ARod gets pathetically thrown out after trying to score from first after Wilson bobbled the ball.

Mo Rivera, who was dominant for two innings, set the Bucs down in the 10th, setting the stage.

Tino Martinez worked a four-pitch, pinch-hit walk from Mesa, who was not nearly as sharp as Mo in his second inning of work. Tinostalgia was pinch run for by Russ Johnson.

Tony Womack strode to the plate after pinch running for starting left fielder Ruben Sierra in the eighth. After looking at a ball and a strike, Womack apparently got the hit-and-run sign, but the Pirates pitched out.

Russ Johnson was dead to rights out, but stopped, started back to first and the Jack Wilson throw from second to first hit him square in the numbers. Break number two ...

Womack finally got to hit, and did one of the few things he does well - bunted Johnson to second, bringing the much maligned Jason Giambi to the plate.

In 2002, Giambi would have been walked in favor of pitching to number nine hitter Robinson Cano. But not tonight.

Giambi looked at a ball and a strike, then fouled one off down the right field line.

So Mesa ran a 1-2, 94 mph fastball in on Giambi's hands and Jason did what sluggers do - turned on it and deposited it 10 rows up in the upper deck.

Game over.

Yankees win! Thhhheeeeeee Yankeeeeeees win! The Giambino!

Now the Yanks did what they needed to do: won the series and started this homestand with two straight wins.

A few thoughts briefly.

  • Jack Wilson and Jose Castillo can flat out pick it up the middle for the Pirates.
  • I love Yankee Stadium, but the idea of in essence making the Pirates, Devil Rays and Royals of the world pay for it makes me smile.
  • If Brown's injury is serious, there's not much at Columbus to fill in. Alex Graman is having a solid season (3.31 ERA, 65K/25BB in 73.1 IP) but why not give Sean Henn another shot?

    Since getting betrayed and blasted in Tampa and then getting promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, Henn's done well - 4-2, 3.20 ERA 30K/12BB in 45 IP.

    The other options are big league retreads Brad Voyles and Pete Munro, so why not take another shot with the kid?