July 22, 2009

Feeding Frenzy

It was yet another quality start from a member of the Yankees rotation in the season's second half, most recently this afternoon by A.J. Burnett, who said afterward the starters are competing against each other and doing some “feeding” as well.

“It’s a friendly competition, you want to go out there and do the same job, if not better, than the guy before because that’s what we’re here for,” said Burnett, who allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings. “There’s no doubt were feeding off one another.”

Said Joe Girardi: “I think they do feed off of each other, and they don’t want to be the one who stops the streak. They want to go out and throw well. And they compete against each other, and to me that’s a great situation.”

The Yankees (57-37), in winning their sixth straight, reached 20 games over .500 for the first time since September 2007 and maintained their lead over the Red Sox in the East. They haven’t been 20 games over .500 on July 22 of a season since 2004.

“Those kind of things you don’t worry about,” said Alex Rodriguez, who had two hits and an RBI. “When you’re in the middle of July we’re trying to get better. We know what we’re capable of doing and we just try to worry about what we do in our house. We’re doing a good job and just have to keep going.”

CC Sabathia (9-6, 3.66) tries to keep it going tomorrow night.

As for the one downer for the Yankees from the afternoon, there were those home runs allowed by Brian Bruney in the ninth.

“It’s the best stuff we’ve seen since he’s come back,” Girardi said. “You don’t always look at the results, you look at the stuff and his stuff was much better today, and it’s really something to build on.”

Now, there was an element of truth to that in regard to the first two hitters Bruney faced. The 91-mph slider Bruney struck out Robert Andino with was nasty, and the 95-mph fastball he got Brian Roberts on was outstanding.

So Bruney’s stuff, overall, did look better than it did in his previous outing in Anaheim, but he didn’t do himself any favors attempting to downplay the home runs either.

“I thought I threw the ball tonight like I had thrown at the beginning of the year and it just so happened that they hit two out of the park,” Bruney said. “Hats off to them. I’ll get them next time.”

Bruney said later: I felt good about the way I pitched today, if I didn’t, I’d tell you I didn’t.”

That is certainly true. It was Bruney who, after the game in Anaheim, told us, ““I’m pitching like ----, that’s all I can say.”

He definitely wasn’t that Wednesday afternoon but it’s tough to “yeah, but…” two home runs in an inning.

Some other things, courtesy of the postgame notes.

* Mariano Rivera has converted 24 straight save opportunities and his last 40 at home since August 2007.

* Burnett is 7-2 in his last 10 starts with a 2.31 ERA, limiting opponents to three earned runs or less in each outing.

* Phil Hughes has not allowed a run in 14 straight outings, a stretch of 20 innings.

Finally, Newsday is launching a “new look” tonight with the Web site so we’re likely to have an altered look soon. Nothing wrong with a little change and a perfect time for our first Live Chat, which is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) at 11 a.m. We’ll talk about this current winning streak, Roy Halladay (why not) or whatever else is on your mind. Talk to you then.

Gameday Live 94: Orioles at Yankees

Hello everyone! I'm David Cassilo, and I will be taking you through this afternoon's contest between the Yankees and the Orioles. With their win and a Red Sox loss last night, the Yankees are now in first place, and today they will look to sweep the Orioles and win their sixth game in a row.

In yesterday's game, the Yankees got a solid performance from Sergio Mitre, who was making his first start in two years. Mitre, who was admittedly maybe too excited, settled down after giving up one run in the first and left after allowing three earned runs through five-and-two-thirds inning.

Mitre received some help from Alex Rodriguez, who hit a two-RBI single in the third inning and Robinson Cano, who blasted a two-run home run in the fourth inning to give the Yankees a cushion.

The Yankees have now won nine straight home games against the Orioles.

PITCHING MATCHUP: 32-year old right-hander A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.81 ERA) will make his second start since the all-star break today. In his first, Burnett allowed three runs over six innings in a no decision against the Tigers.

Burnett has not faced the Orioles since the opening week of the season when he beat Baltimore while allowing two runs over five-and-one-third innings. In his career against Baltimore, Burnett is 8-1 but has an ERA of 4.83.

The Orioles will hope rookie Jason Berken (1-7, 6.44 ERA) can find some luck today against the Yankees. After allowing just four runs total in two previous starts, Berken was rocked by the White Sox in his last start, allowing six runs in four-and-a-third innings.

The one thing Berken does have working for him is that no Yankee hitter has ever faced him.

I will be back for first pitch.

Top of the first: Brian Roberts strikes out. Adam Jones singles to center field. Nick Markakis grounds into a fielder's choice. Aubrey Huff flies out to center field.

Bottom of the first: Derek Jeter doubles to left-center. Johnny Damon lines out to right field. Mark Teixeira singles to center field. Alex Rodriguez hits an RBI single into center field to give New York a 1-0 lead. Hideki Matsui grounds into a fielder's choice. Jorge Posada walks to load the bases. Robinson Cano hits an RBI infield single to second base, and the Yankees lead 2-0. Nick Swisher hits a two-RBI single to center field, and the lead is now 4-0. Brett Gardner flies out to right field.

Top of the second: Ty Wigginton strikes out swinging. Luke Scott singles off the wall in right field. Greg Zaun hits a single into right field. Felix Pie grounds into a fielder's choice. Robert Andino grounds into a fielder's choice.

Bottom of the second: Jeter flies out to center field. Damon flies out to right field. Teixeira grounds out to the pitcher.

Top of the third: Roberts hits a fly ball to right field that Swisher drops allowing Roberts to reach second on a two-base error. Jones singles past Cano into right field. Markakis flies out to right field. Jones tags and advances to second base. Huff strikes out swinging. Wigginton hits a fly ball to right field that Swisher makes a leaping catch on to atone for his earlier drop.

Bottom of the third: Rodriguez grounds out to the putch. Matsui grounds out to second base. Posada hits a solo home run into the Yankee bullpen to make the score 5-0. Cano grounds out to second base.

Top of the fourth: Scott walks to leadoff the inning. Zaun strikes out swinging. Pie flies out to center field. Andino walks. Roberts grounds out to second base.

Bottom of the fourth: Swisher walks. Gardner grounds into a fielder's choice. Jeter flies out to right field. Gardner is thrown out trying to steal.

Top of the fifth: Jones strikes out swinging. Markakis grounds out to second base. Huff grounds out to first base.

Bottom of the fifth: Damon grounded out to first base. Teixeira flies out to left. Rodriguez grounds out to shortstop.

Top of the sixth: Wigginton grounds out to shortstop. Scott flies out to Swisher in right field who makes another leaping catch at the wall. Zaun walks. Pie flies out to center field.

Bottom of the sixth: Matsui strikes out looking. Posada grounds out to first base. Cano singles into center field. Swisher flies out to center field.

Top of the seventh: Infield single for Andino. Roberts flies out to center field. Jones doubles down the left field line. Markakis hits a sacrifice fly that scores Andino and makes the score 5-1. Huff strikes out on a wild pitch by Burnett. The ball goes to the backstop, allowing Huff to reach and Jones to score to make it 5-2. Wigginton pops out to third base.

Bottom of the seventh: Cla Meredith comes in to pitch for the Orioles. Gardner is hit by a pitch and then steals second base. Jeter strikes out swinging. Damon singles to left field. Teixeira lines out to Huff who steps on first for the double play.

Final line for Berken: 6 IP 7 H 5 ER 2 BB 1 K

Top of the eighth: Phil Hughes comes in to pitch. Scott strikes out swinging. Zaun singles up the middle. Pie grounds into a 6-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Final line for Burnett: 7 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 K

Bottom of the eighth: George Sherrill is in to pitch for the Orioles. Rodriguez hits a single into left field, and steals second base. Matsui strikes out swinging. Posada hits an RBI double to make the score 6-2. Cano strikes out swinging. Swisher is intentionally walked. Gardner hits an infield single to second base to load the bases. Jeter strikes out swinging.

Top of the ninth: Brian Bruney is in to pitch the ninth. Andino strikes out swinging. Roberts strikes out swinging. Jones hits a home run into the left field stands to make the score 6-3. Markakis hits a home run to right field, and the score in now 6-4. Bruney is pulled from the game.

Mariano Rivera comes in for the save. Huff strikes out looking.

Final score: 6-4 Yankees

W- Burnett (9-4)
L- Berken (1-8)
S- Rivera (28)

Player of the game: Jorge Posada 2-3 1 HR 2 RBI 2 R 1 2B 1 BB

The 6-4 victory over the Orioles means the Yankees have won all six games since returning from the all-star break. A strong outing from Burnett, coupled with impressive offensive showings from Posada and Swisher keeps the Yankees in first place for another day.

Tomorrow they will begin a series at home against Oakland when CC Sabathia faces Vin Mazzaro.

-David Cassilo

Today's lineup

Jeter ss
Damon lf
Teixeira 1b
A-Rod 3b
Matsui dh
Posada c
Cano 2b
Swisher rf
Gardner cf

Sergio Mitre to the rescue

Okay, so maybe a little overly dramatic but Mitre's first start in almost two years was anything but a disaster.

Mitre went 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs -- three earned -- while striking out four and walking one, pitching the Yankees into sole possession of first for the first time since the morning of June 9. He threw 91 pitches, 57 for strikes and showed, at times, a very good sinker. He was far from perfect but for the fifth starter, not bad at all.

"I thought he did a nice job, he threw a lot of strikes," said Joe Girardi, who managed Mitre in Florida in 2006. "He worked quickly, he almost got through six, so I was happy with his performance."

“Extremely,” Mitre said, asked how satisfying it was to get a victory after having not started a major league game since Sept. 15, 2007. “It’s been a long way back. Been out for a year, a little bit over a year. A little bit too excited today, but I was able to stay under control, throw strikes early in the count."

“He pitched well,” Derek Jeter said. “He went out there and did exactly what we needed him to do. Threw strikes, worked quick, got a lot of groundballs.”

Mitre will take the ball again in five days and, presumably, a few more times after that. He said he feels bad for Wang but this, the big leagues, is also where he feels he belongs.

“It’s unfortunate that I’m here because of that, he’s a great pitcher,” Mitre said of Wang. “[But] I don’t look at myself like I’m here to fill in. I know I can pitch here so hopefully I’ll get the ball every fifth day, show that I belong here and stay healthy first and win some games.”

A couple of other things, courtesy of the postgame notes:

* Of Alex Rodriguez's 54 RBI this season, 30 have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead.

* Mariano Rivera has converted his last 39 save chances at home since August 2007. He's converted 23 straight save opportunities, which ties him with Detroit's Fernando Rodney for the longest streak this season in the Majors, according to Elias.

* Damaso Marte threw one inning for Scranton tonight, allowing two hits and a run in a 2-1 victory at Columbus.

Back tomorrow afternoon as A.J. Burnett (8-4, 3.81) takes on Jason Berken (1-7, 6.44).

July 21, 2009

Gameday Live 93: Orioles at Yankees

Sergio Mitre, a former Cub and Marlin, makes his first start tonight for the Yanks, looking to continue a trend of excellent starting pitching for the Bombers after the break.

His best season came in 2007 with the Florida Marlins, going 5-8 with a 4.65 ERA in 27 starts. He was also on the 2006 Marlins squad that Joe Girardi skippered. Mitre owns a 10-23 career record with a 5.36 ERA and 188/108 K/BB ratio. Not stuff that certainly engenders great confidence, but neither did the career stats of Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small before they stepped into save the Yankees season in 2005.

The Yanks pit their former Cub against the Orioles former North Side hurler in Rich Hill. After an impressive 2007 for Hill, he's fallen off the map, mainly due to control problems. This season with the Orioles, Hill hasn't had an ERA below 6.00 in any month.

It's raining at the Stadium right now, but the latest word is that the game will get played. Back before first pitch, or at 7 p.m....whichever comes first, considering the rain.

- Cody Derespina

Tonight's lineup

Jeter ss
Damon lf
Teixeira 1b
A-Rod dh
Posada c
Swisher rf
Cano 2b
Cabrera cf
Ransom 3b

July 20, 2009

Gameday Live 92: Orioles at Yankees

Andy Pettitte (8-5, 4.85) vs. David Hernandez (2-2, 3.94) tonight at the Stadium.

Pettitte has been durable this year, which, with Joba's struggles and Wang's health issues, has proven very valuable. However, that's about all he's been. He's significantly better away from the Stadium (which doesn't bode well for tonight) and his ERA has risen every month of the season - April: 2.96, May: 4.95, June: 5.06 and July 7.27. His last start was a six run, 4 1/3 inning disaster to the Angels.

But teams, and rotations in particular, tend to have a streaky quality about them, and the Yanks have just had three great starts in a row, so perhaps Pettitte will add to that role as well.

With Wang experiencing pain once again in his arm, it's absolutely essential that Pettitte get back on track to being at least league average.

Back before first pitch.

- Cody Derespina

Setback for Wang

In case you missed it, the news is not good on CMW.

Tonight's lineup

Tonight's lineup vs. Orioles

Jeter SS
Damon LF
Tex 1B
A-Rod 3B
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Hinske RF
Melky CF
Molina C
Pettitte P

July 19, 2009

Joba Chamberlain and the appeal of home

Joba Chamberlain said he didn't think about baseball at all during the All-Star break, which he said played a big role in what happened Sunday afternoon when he had one of his best outings of the season.

"I didn’t think about baseball one time," Chamberlain said. "My son’s three-years-old so he kept me pretty busy and we had a lot of fun out back. It was just…home is where your heart is and I think that was something that I needed right there. I love this place [New York] to death, it’s my second home, but going back home and being around my family for four days was probably the best four days I’ve had in my life to put things in perspective and to get a better understanding of how fun this game really can be.”

We saw some emotion from Chamberlain we haven't seen in a while when he struck out Marcus Thames with a 95-mph fastball on a 3-and-2 count to get out of a jam in the fifth. The previous pitch hit 97. Chamberlain punctuated the strikeout with a triple fist-pump and half twirl in front of the mound, a display that hopefully doesn't turn into talk-show fodder but one never knows.

“It was one of those things where you need a strikeout right there,” Chamberlain said. “That’s the one instance where you try to go get a strikeout and be really, really aggressive and it paid off.”

Said Joe Girardi: “I loved seeing it. When he’s showing emotion, he’s usually throwing the ball well.”

As for Girardi lifting Chamberlain after his 107th pitch in the seventh, Chamberlain said he could see his manager's reasoning. The most pitches Chamberlain has thrown this season is 108 - twice - but not since May 16 against the Twins.

"It’s hard to do, but it’s the right thing to do," Girardi said. "He hadn’t been over 100 pitches in a while so we didn’t want to stretch him too far."

“I understand,” Chamberlain said. “I didn’t want to give him the ball, but that’s why we have those guys in the bullpen.”

Phil Coke, who turned 27 today, retired Curtis Granderson with one pitch, Phil Hughes struck out two in the eighth, making it 13 straight relief appearances without surrendering a run, and Mariano Rivera allowed a two-out walk but closed out the Tigers in the ninth for his 26th save.

But the day was about Chamberlain, who had his best outing since his June 1 start in Cleveland.

“Being away for four days I kind of realized, I was having fun but I wasn’t being the Joba Chamberlain that I should have been,” Chamberlain said. “And that’s not good enough. That’s not good enough for my teammates, that’s not good enough for my coaches, that’s not good enough for myself. Just being away, I finally got to it, and it’s back to having fun and being confident and having that little swagger that you need.”

Mark Teixeira, who hit his second go-ahead home run of the series, understood where Chamberlain was coming from.

"All-Star breaks are great," Teixeira said. "Doesn't matter if you're young or if you're a veteran. The younger guys, maybe more of a mental break, the older guys, more of a physical break, but anytime you can get away, clear your mind and be a normal person for a few days, you come back, you're a little more focused, got that fire in your eyes, and Joba had it today."

Gameday Live 91: Yankees vs. Tigers

Maybe they were just tired.

The Yankees (53-37) have rebounded well since the All-Star break, winning two in a row over the AL Central-leading Tigers (48-41) on the backs of C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, who allowed a combined four runs.

Joba Chamberlain (4-2, 4.25 ERA) is scheduled to start today for the Yankees, who would sweep with a win. Chamberlain is looking to make his first quality start of July: he's gone a total of eight innings and allowed seven earned runs in two outings this month. He has a 0.82 ERA against Detroit in five career outings against them (he's faced them once as a starter).

Edwin Jackson (7-4, 2.52 ERA), only 25, pitches for the Tigers. Jackson is in the best season of his young career after many years as a high-potential arm.

Evan Drellich here to take you through the afternoon's action.

Today's lineup

Jeter ss
Gardner cf
Texeira 1b
A-Rod 3b
Matsui dh
Posada c
Cano 2b
Swisher rf
Cabrera lf

Gameday Live: Old-Timers' Day 2009

Mike Mussina, not even a year retired, headlines today's Old-Timers' game at Yankee Stadium. Festivities are set to start at 11:45 a.m. before the Yankees wrap up their series with Detroit in a 2:05 p.m. game.

Don Zimmer will be there for the first time too, along with Chad Curtis and Doc Gooden, amongst others. Stalwarts Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage will make return appearances.

To understand what makes the game so great, check out Newsday's Mark Herrmann here.

Evan Drellich here to take you through the hits and gaffes.

July 18, 2009

Gameday Live 90: Yankees vs. Tigers

Good afternoon Yankees enthusiasts! Welcome to another Saturday of Bombers baseball!


I'm Chris Mascaro and I'll be bringing you all of this afternoon's live game action, as the Yankees (52-37), the second place team in the AL East (three games behind the Red Sox), take on the AL Central-leading Tigers (48-40) in the middle game of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees, which lead the wild card race by 3.5 games over Texas, are 8-5 this month (with three of those losses coming last weekend in Anaheim).

Last night, the Yankees defeated Detroit for the third time in four tries, 5-3, behind Mark Teixeira's three-run homer in the seventh inning off Joel Zumaya.

Said manager Joe Girardi: "Three-run homers are nice, especially late in the game."

No kidding.

A.J. Burnett allowed three runs in six innings, but he walked five. Phil Hughes (4-2) picked up the win after tossing two scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Mariano Rivera picked up his 24th save with a scoreless ninth. The Tigers, which had won four of five coming into the series, went just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

This afternoon this Yankees will send CC Sabathia (8-6, 3.86), pictured above, to the hill. In his last start, Sunday in Anaheim, he allowed five runs in 6 2/3 innings and the Yankees lost 5-4. Sabathia has struggled in day games this season, going 0-3 with a 5.67 ERA in the sunlight.

Here are the Tigers' career numbers off him, a collective .269 average, led by Magglio Ordonez, who is 15-for-59 (.254) off the big lefty with three homers and 17 RBIs. In his career, Sabathia is 13-10 with a 4.69 ERA against the Tigers in 27 starts.

Meanwhile, the Tigers trot out their ace Justin Verlander (10-4, 3.38), who leads the AL in strikeouts with 149. The two-time All Star can really bring the heat, and he seems to thrive when facing Sabathia. In five starts when the two pitchers have opposed each other, Verlander is 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA, while Sabathia is 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA. That includes the April 27 start in Detroit, when Verlander picked up his first win of the year after pitching seven scoreless innings and striking out nine. In his last start, Verlander recorded eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in a 10-1 win over Cleveland.

Here are the Yankees' career numbers agaisnt Verlander, a collective .246 average. Nick Swisher has three homers off the 26-year old righty, but is just 6-for-35 (.171) off him, while Derek Jeter (4-for-11), Hideki Matsui (4-for-9) and Johnny Damon (4-for-13) all hit Verlander well.

Finally, here are today's lineups...

1. Jeter, SS
2. Damon, LF
3. Teixeira, 1B
4. Rodriguez, 3B
5. Matsui, DH
6. Posada, C
7. Cano, 2B
8. Swisher, RF
9. Cabrera, CF
Sabathia, LHP

1. Granderson, CF
2. Polanco, 2B
3. Cabrera, 1B
4. Thames, DH
5. Ordonez, RF
6. Raburn, LF
7. Inge, 3B
8. Laird, C
9. Everett, SS
Verlander, RHP

Okay, that's all for now. But let's get the conversation going in the chat box above! And be sure to vote on the poll questions.

I'll be back after each half-inning with updates.

We're about 15 minutes from baseball on YES!

*Today is the 10th anniversary of David Cone's perfect game against the Expos. They are doing a look back at it on YES.

Top of the 1st: Granderson flew out to right before Polanco doubled to the wall in left-center (his 21st of the season). Cabrera then walked, putting runners on first and second for Thames, who struck out swinging on a changeup. Ordonez flew out to center for the third out.

Sabathia needed 24 pitches to get through the inning.

Bottom of the 1st: Jeter led off the inning with a single to center, but he was thrown out trying to steal second by Laird (his fourth time getting caught this season). Damon lined a 3-and-2 pitch right back to Verlander and Teixeira struck out swinging on a 3-and-2 changeup to end the inning.

Top of the 2nd: Raburn struck out swinging on a fastball (Sabathia's second K), before Inge walked (Sabathia's second BB). Then Laird singled down the left-field line, putting runners on first and second for Everett, who flew out to center. The runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch, but Granderson struck out swinging on a 3-and-2 fastball (Sabathia's third K) for the third out.

Sabathia threw 27 pitches that inning and has tossed 51 for the game.

Bottom of the 2nd: A 1-2-3 inning for Verlander, as A-Rod grounded out to short, Matsui did the same to second and Posada struck out looking (Verlander's third K) on three pitches to end the frame.

Top of the 3rd: Polanco grounded out to second before Cabrera singled to right (the Tigers' third hit). But Thames grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Bottom of the 3rd: Another 1-2-3 inning for Verlander, as Cano grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw, Swisher struck out swinging on a nasty slider (Verlander's fourth K) and Melky popped out to short.

Top of the 4th: Ordonez walked to lead off the inning (Sabathia's third BB) and moved to second on a passed ball. Raburn grounded back to the mound, but Inge was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second for Laird, who grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

Bottom of the 4th: Jeter ripped a single to left (his second hit of the day), but Damon flew out to left. Teixeira walked (Verlander's first BB of the afternoon) to put runners on first and second for A-Rod, who flew out to right. Matsui popped out in foul ground off third for the third out.

Top of the 5th: Sabathia has his first 1-2-3 inning, as Everett struck out swinging on a 3-and-2 changeup (Sabathia's fourth K), Granderson flew out to left and Polanco grounded out to third.

Bottom of the 5th: Verlander tossed his third 1-2-3 inning today, as Posada popped out to short, Cano struck out swinging on a fastball (Verlander's fourth K) and Swisher flew out to left.

Top of the 6th: Cabrera popped out to second before Thames reached on an infield single to short and Ordonez knocked an opposite field double down the right-field line on an 0-and-2 pitch (his 11th of the season) to put runners second and third for Raburn, who flew out to shallow left (the runners had to stay put). Inge popped out to second to end the rally.

Sabathia has thrown 104 pitches.

Bottom of the 6th: Melky grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw and Jeter struck out swinging on three pitches (Verlander's fifth K) before Damon ripped a double to the base of the wall in right (his 21st of the year). But Teixeira struck out looking on a 3-and-2 fastball (Verlander's sixth K) to end the inning.

Top of the 7th: Sabathia has his second 1-2-3 inning of the day, as Laird grounded out to short, Everett lined out to short and Granderson grounded out to second. He's thrown 114 pitches.

Bottom of the 7th: A-Rod hit a 1-and-1 fastball into the first row in the right-field seats for a solo home run to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. It was his 18th homer and 51st RBI of the year.

Then Matsui flew out to left and Posada flew out to center before Cano singled up the middle and Swisher doubled down the left-field line (his 19th of the season) to put runners on second and third for Melky, who reached on an infield single to short to score Cano and give the Yanks a 2-0 lead. It was Melky's 35th RBI of the season.

Jeter lined out to first on the first pitch he saw to end the frame.

Top of the 8th: Righty Alfredo Aceves (5-1, 2.49) came on in relief of Sabathia, who allowed five hits and three walks with four K's in seven innings of work. He threw 114 pitches.

Aceves got Polanco to fly out to right and Cabrera to strike out swinging on a 2-and-2 changeup. But Thames lifted an 0-and-1 fastball to the first row in left field to make it a 2-1 Yankee lead. It was his 10th homer and 23rd RBI of the season.

Ordonez struck out looking on a 3-and-2 pitch to end the inning.

Bottom of the 8th: Lefty Bobby Seay (1-1, 2.89) came on in relief of Verlander, who pitched seven innings, allowing two runs (both in the seventh) on seven hits and a walk with six K's. He threw 109 pitches.

Seay got Damon to fly out to left, Teixeira to strike out swinging on a fastball (Tex's third K today) and A-Rod to strike out looking on a fastball.

Top of the 9th: Mariano Rivera (1-2, 2.37) came on in relief of Aceves, who allowed a run on a hit (the Thames homer) with two K's.

Rivera got Raburn to strike out swinging on a cutter, Inge to ground out to short (great play by Jeter deep in the hole to get him by a step) and Laird to pop out to short.

That's all for today's game, as the Yankees win, 2-1.
Yankees: 53-37 (51-25 against teams other than the Red Sox and Angels)
Tigers: 48-41

WP--Sabathia (9-6)
LP--Verlander (10-5)
SV--Rivera (25)

HR: Yankees 1 (A-Rod, his 18th).

Here are your three stars for today's game:
1. A-Rod: Solo home run in the seventh gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
2. Sabathia: 7 IP, no runs, five hits, three walks, four K's. Today was his first win in a day game and he lowered his ERA from 3.86 to 3.66.
3. Cabrera: RBI infield single in the seventh gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead and proved to be the winning run.

Also, Jeter went 2-for-4 (he and Thames were the only players with multi-hit games), while Rivera pitched a hitless ninth for his 25th save in 26 chances.

Teixeira went 0-for-3 with a walk and three K's.

*Also, the Red Sox lost 6-2 in Toronto this afternoon, meaning the Yankees are now two games back in the AL East.

Okay, that's all for this afternoon's game. Thanks to all for coming out. As always, it was my honor and pleasure to bring everyone all of today's live game action.

We'll see ya'll back here tomorrow, as the Yankees go for the sweep of this three-game set on Old Timer's Day. All Star Edwin Jackson (7-4, 2.52) opposes Joba Chamberlain (4-2, 4.25).

We'll see everyone then. Have a great Saturday night!

(Photo by Kathy Willens, Associated Press / May 24, 2009)

Today's lineup vs. Tigers

Jeter SS
Damon LF
Tex 1B
A-Rod 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Swisher RF
Melky CF
Sabathia P

Justin Verlander pitching for the Tigers. Gorgeous weather day at the stadium. Check back later for the (award-winning) live blog.

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