Game 36: NYY vs. MIL — A walk-off loss

CC Sabathia is now on the 15-day DL with “fluid on the knee”, which is a lot better than a feared meniscus tear that an MRI quickly ruled out. Matt Daley was called up to fill the roster position, and it is assumed that Alfredo Aceves will slide into Sabathia’s rotation spot. Okay, can we stop with the injuries now? Even the minor ones are getting on my nerves.

So since this game was quite a bit of back-and-forth, it’s going to be easier to do this chronologically…

Batting with pink bats to show their support of breast cancer survivors and its continued research, the Yankees decided to make their Mothers proud today with an impressive display in the 1st inning. Gardner led off with a double, Ellsbury and Teixeira walk to load the bases, and Kelly Johnson’s ground-rule double scored Gardner and Ellsbury. Solarte’s sacrifice fly then scored Teixeira for the Yankees to jump ahead 3-0 over the Brewers.

Then David Phelps took the mound for the Yankees. He would go on to pitch into the 6th inning, but trouble in the 3rd caused some drama. Runners on base with a double and hit by pitch advanced on a sacrifice bunt. The first runner scored on a single, and then the two runners advanced on a balk (yes, another one this series; have there been so many called before?), and another run scored on another single. But Phelps was able to get out of that mess and keep pushing forward until the 6th inning. The first two batters were allowed singles, before relief came in. Phelps pitched just 70 pitches, allowed 8 hits, and threw just 1 strikeout. And then those runners scored pushing him to 4 earned runs.

Matt Thornton was brought on briefly but was pulled when that batter’s single scored the tying run for the Brewers. So they turned to Dellin Betances to shut it down, but it wasn’t so easy. With 2 outs, a double scored the last of Phelps runners, and a fielding error by Jeter allowed another run to score before it was over. And it was suddenly 5-3 Brewers.

On into the 7th, with Teixeira on 2nd and 2 outs, Solarte’s single scored Teixeira and bumped up the Yankees chances ever so slightly. And Betances helps out with a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 7th. The 8th is also pretty unimpressive, with Adam Warren helping the pursuit to overcome the difference.

And talk about clutch: with 2 outs and a full count at-bat, Mark Teixeira came up big for the Yankees in the 9th inning with his 7th home run of the season and tied up the game 5-5. All the Yankees had to do was hold onto that tie and roll it into extra innings. But Warren seemed to feel the pressure and lost his command of a couple of pitches ever so slightly in the bottom of the inning. A double that advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch and 2 outs on the board, the Yankees were looking for that 3rd out. Instead, they got a walk-off single and the Brewers won 6-5. Bummer.

Like I said, it was back-and-forth, and it was still a pretty great game.

Prior to the game today, the Brewers wanted to honor Derek Jeter in his last game in Miller Park. They presented him with a few things, most notably a bronzed bat (a replica of his own Louisville Slugger) and a $10,000 check to Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. Presenting the honors were the team’s owners and special assistant to the Brewers Dick Groch. Groch was the Yankee scout who campaigned for the team to sign a very young Jeter in 1992. Groch and Jeter will be forever tied to one another, and as such, Groch is almost as much of a legend to Yankee fans as Jeter is.

After last year’s “farewell tour” of Mariano Rivera, I’ve been watching this year’s “special ceremonies” (remember: it’s NOT a “farewell tour”) to see how they unfold. Some are confusing, some are amusing, some are just nice, some are special, and some are perfect. Milwaukee is certainly is leaning toward the better end of that curve.

And perhaps what really pushed me over that curve was that the Brewers used the same walk-up announcement you hear at Yankee Stadium every time Jeter walks up to the plate — the voice of the late, great announcer Bob Sheppard. “Now batting… number two… Derek… Jeter… … … number two.” And the sold-out crowd was on their feet to say “thank you“.

Go Yankees!

And a Happy Mother’s Day! Blog shout-out to my own mom — she’s always the first to read my posts (and often catches my mistakes), the one who shares my love of this crazy game, the one who loves going to games with me, the one who really continues to boost my enthusiasm not just for baseball but also for the Yankees. Thanks for being my mom!

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