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June 22, 2005

Pitch 1 - In play, run scoring play
by Sean McNally

Tonight's Tampa-New York game is pretty much a microcosm of the 2005 season to date: Crappy start, flashes of good play, more crappy play then a stretch of unbelievably amazing baseball.

Randy Johnson started out seeming fine, getting through the first without surrendering any runs, then the wheels came off the wagon.

A walk, a homer, a homer, a single, a triple and a single and the Yanks are down 5-0 before the sun went down in the Bronx.

The Yanks got one back in the bottom of the second on a Bernie Williams sac fly, but Johnson promptly gave that back and more courtesy of a Jonny Gomes two run wall-scraper to right.

Johnson did not return for the fourth with the score 7-2 bad guys.

Scott Proctor, fresh off the Columbus Shuttle came in and gave Tampa three runs pushing the lead to 10-2 and most of the viewing audience started waiting for Rescue Me to start on F/X.

The Yanks showed a spark of a comeback in the fifth. Back-to-back singles by Derek Jeter and Tony Womack brought Gary Sheffield to the plate and Sheff promptly turned a Hideo Nomo pitch around for a three-run homer: 10-5 Tampa. After ARod grounded out, Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi both singled and Bernie smoked a double, scoring Godzilla and making the score 10-6 Devil Rays.

Mike Stanton, Tanyon Sturtze and Buddy Groom held Tampa to just one run, while Derek Jeter homered to keep the deficit at four and the score at 11-7 when the Yanks came up in the eighth. Now, I can't improve upon what the play-by-play reads:

F Nunez relieved C Orvella.
R Cano singled to center.
D Jeter singled to right, R Cano to third.
R Sierra hit for T Womack.
R Sierra grounded out to second, R Cano scored, D Jeter to second.
G Sheffield singled to left center, D Jeter to third.
A Rodriguez singled to left, D Jeter scored, G Sheffield to second.
T Harper relieved F Nunez.
H Matsui doubled to deep right, G Sheffield scored, A Rodriguez to third.
J Giambi intentionally walked.
R Johnson ran for J Giambi.
B Williams tripled to deep center, A Rodriguez, H Matsui and R Johnson scored.
J Posada homered to right, B Williams scored.
R Cano flied out to center.
D Jeter reached on infield single to second.
R Sierra singled to right, D Jeter to third.
G Sheffield homered to left, D Jeter and R Sierra scored.
A Rodriguez homered to right.
H Matsui homered to center.
R Johnson flied out to right.

Final tally, 12 hits, 13 runs, one walk, no errors, no one left on.

The 35-minute inning saved the game and kept the Yanks hot after last night's little hiccup.

Some quick hits:
Jeter had his second five-hit game of his career, and finished a triple shy of the cycle.

Bernie tied Yogi for sixth all-time in Yankee history in hits (2,148) AND tied Tony Lazzeri for seventh all-time in the Yankee record books for RBIs (1,154).

This start probably puts a stop to any of the John Flaherty/Randy Johnson personal catcher talk.

Oh, this is old hat for the Yankees, who hung 13 runs on the Devil Rays in the second inning of their game on April 18.

Some of the box score lines for the Yankees are obscene.

Jeter 5/6 5R RBI HR 2B
Sheffield 4/6 3R 7RBI 2HR
Matsui 4/5 4R 2RBI HR 2B
Bernie 2/4 R 5RBI 2B 3B

For the second time in a week the Yanks played a potential season-changing game and wound up on the winning side. The Yanks are now 7-1 through eight games on the 13-game homestand.

The problem, however, is that while the Yanks have been playing like a house afire, they've not gained any ground on the division leading Orioles, who’ve kept up the pace despite several injuries to key personnel.

It's still early, but it looks like we’ve got a pennant race on our hands, kids.