Wednesday, August 09, 2006

No-No Nearly Ends in Disaster

Mariano Rivera walked off the mound dejected on Tuesday night after suffering his third blown save of the season. Wednesday, he got his redemption, chalking up a four-out save to rescue the Yankees from what would have been a devastating loss.
The Yankees escaped with a 7-6 victory over the White Sox, as a game which saw the Yankees leading by seven runs and Randy Johnson flirting with history before turning into a nail-biter after Kyle Farnsworth melted down in the eighth inning.

Johnson toyed with his third career no-hitter, taking the gem into the seventh inning before Tadahito Iguchi ended the bid with a single. Still, Johnson earned his 12th win of the season and 275th of his career with six innings of two-run ball, assuring New York of a winning record this season against the defending World Series champions.

Johnny Damon led off the game with a triple to center, scoring on Bobby Abreu's RBI single to give the Yankees a quick lead. Damon felt some soreness in his right groin after legging out the triple, leaving the game in the fourth inning.

Jon Garland survived a leadoff double by Robinson Cano in the second, retiring the next three batters to strand him at third base. Garland sat the Yanks down in order in the third and stranded a pair of runners in the fourth, holding the lead at 1-0.

Not that it mattered to Johnson, who breezed through Chicago's lineup, sitting down the first five hitters before issuing a two-out walk to Joe Crede. Johnson struck out A.J. Pierzynski for the third out, his third K in the first two frames.

The Yankees padded the lead in the fifth with three runs, getting a solo homer from Melky Cabrera (his sixth) and a two-run shot from Abreu, his ninth of the year and first as a Yankee. Abreu's home run snapped a streak of 161 homerless at-bats, the longest of his career.

Cano added a solo homer of his own in the sixth, drilling a 2-2 pitch from Garland to straightaway center field to give the Yanks a 5-0 lead.

Johnson, who had thrown 65 pitches through the first five no-hit innings, needed just six pitches to get through the sixth, retiring the side quickly.

The Yankees scored two more runs in the seventh on RBIs by A-Rod and Jorge Posada, giving Johnson a 7-0 lead.

Johnson came back to the mound for the seventh, but Iguchi ended the no-hitter shortly thereafter, lacing an 0-2 pitch through the hole at shortstop. Johnson then walked Thome and served up a ground-rule double to Konerko, scoring one run. Jermaine Dye hit a double off the top of the right-field wall, scoring another run to make it a 7-2 game.

That was enough for Joe Torre, who removed Johnson from the game in favor of Ron Villone, who loaded the bases by walking Crede. But Villone got the next two hitters to pop up to first base, then retired Brian Anderson on a fly out to left, stranding all three runners.

Farnsworth allowed a solo homer by Iguchi in the eighth, then put a pair of runners on base with two outs. Crede blasted a 1-0 pitch into the center-field seats, cutting the lead to 7-6 with his 25th homer.

Torre called on Rivera for the four-out save, one night after the closer suffered his third blown save of the season. Rivera got Pierzynski out with two pitches, then threw a scoreless ninth, closing out the win for his 29th save.

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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:17 PM


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