On July 11th, I went to see the Yankees play the Angels in Anaheim. The Bombers lost, naturally. But while I was there I walked up to a souvenirs concession, picked up a darling little rally monkey toy and proceeded to choke it. I hoped it would be an omen.
Fast forward to tonight when the Yanks finally beat the Angels 6-5 in what can only be described as a roller coaster ride.
The Yankees grabbed a four-run lead in the third on two-run homers by A-Rod and Posada and tacked on another run on Matsui’s solo shot in the fifth. So far, so good. But Gaudin, who had pitched well for four innings, ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth, gave up a couple of runs and found himself in the dugout.
He was replaced by Alfredo A-Save-Us, who didn’t save us. Instead, he coughed up two more runs, pulling the Angels to 5-4. The situation could have been much worse, but A-Rod made a great play on Guerrero’s grounder to end the threat.
I figured all would be well when Huuuuuughes took the mound in the eighth, but he was victimized by errors by Cano and Posada and a curious non-throw by Gardner, all of which resulted in the Angels tying the score at 5-5. I was so nervous I thought I might throw up.
Would this game be yet another descent into misery and frustration?
Would the Yankees be thwarted in their latest attempt to beat the Angels in Anaheim?
Or would they display the “comeback-y-ness” they’ve shown all season long?
In the top of the ninth, the Yankees out-Angeled the Angels. Sure, they used the long ball to score the first five runs. But here’s what happened next:
Gardner: singled and stole second.
Damon: sac bunted. (Yeah, I was surprised too.)
Tex: intentionally walked. (Yeah, I was really surprised. You walk him to pitch to A-Rod?)
A-Rod: sac flied, scoring Gardner with the go-ahead run.
Yankees led 6-5.
Into the game came Mo to secure the save. And that’s what he did. Game over. Angels vanquished at their house of horrors. Rally Monkey fired.
Oh, and by the way? The Yankees were the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth. I love clinches.
AJ will wrap things up tomorrow, and the Yanks have a chance to take two of three. My brain is ready for another contest, but I’m not sure my heart can handle it.