Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Magic Number: 7
The Yankees beat the Devil Rays, 8-4, on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, but their night wasn't as encouraging as one may think. While their offense seems to be humming, the Yankees still have some rotation issues.
Just a week ago it seemed that Wednesday's starter, Cory Lidle, had a grip on the No. 4 postseason rotation. Two outings later, that spot appears to be up for grabs.
Lidle went four innings while giving up nine hits and four earned runs. He surrendered a home run to Rocco Baldelli to lead off the game and another to Carl Crawford 10 pitches later, putting the Yankees behind, 2-0, in the first.
Lidle settled down somewhat, retiring seven of eight batters at the start of the second. But he allowed RBI singles in the fourth and fifth before being pulled. The veteran righty has allowed 10 earned runs over 5 2/3 innings in his past two starts.
The Yankees battled back in the first, plating three runs with only one hit against Devil Rays starter Jason Hammel. It's their second straight, big first inning as they tacked on nine runs to start Tuesday's game.
Johnny Damon drew a leadoff walk, Derek Jeter extended his hit streak to 22 games with a single and Abreu walked to load the bases for Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod hit a chopper up the third-base line that was dropped on a bare-hand try by B.J. Upton, allowing Damon to score. Jason Giambi plated another run with a fielder's choice groundout and Cano brought home the third with a sacrifice fly.
The Yankees pounded out another three runs in the third. A-Rod blasted a two-out solo homer into the black batters' eye, No. 33 of the season. Giambi followed with a single and Robinson Cano reached for a low-away-pitch and pulled it over the right-field wall to put the Yankees ahead, 6-2.
Cano added a two-run double in the seventh to give him five RBIs on the night, and put the Yankees up, 8-4.
Brian Bruney got the win, relieving Lidle with no outs in the fifth and a runner on first. He got six straight outs to keep the Yankees ahead, 6-4, going into the seventh. Mike Myers and Scott Proctor handled the seventh and eighth, and Kyle Farnsworth closed out the ninth, keeping the Rays scoreless over the final four innings.
The Yankees have won five straight games and have widdled their magic number down to seven with a Boston loss. They are 11 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 10:05 PM