Sunday, May 22, 2005

Season-turning win?

Every baseball team that struggles but eventually pulls itself together will have some season-turning or signature win somewhere along the line. Houston had a couple after the All-Star Break that helped the Astros become playoff-caliber and the Yanks have usually had one that either started them rolling or helped define the regular-season high points.

In 1999, the Yanks staved off the BoSax after getting swept at home in September in part by coming back from a 5-2 deficit in Toronto in the 8th inning thanks to a baserunning trick by Ricky Ledee that saved an out and a three-run bomb by Bernie. In 2003, there were two: Pettitte beating the Red Sawx after the Yanks had stunk their way from 20-4 to 29-22 and Clemens finally getting his 300th just a few days after the Yanks were group-no-hit by the Astros.

This year, the season-turner COULD be today's win the Yanks pulled off against the Mess. Pavano had pitched 7 innings and allowed only 1 ER but ARod's error accounted for the difference in the Mess' 3-1 lead. The Yanks had not won a game when trailing after 7 all year, the Mess 'pen had the same pitchers lined up against the Yanks who had stopped them before Saturday's game was blown open, the Yanks lacked Jeter, Sheffield and Posada. Two errors and a double steal into the eighth, the Yanks had a prime opportunity: second and third, one out, ARod up with a chance to atone . . . he popped out. Three pitches later, Matsui was down 1-2 to Roberto Hernandez . . . then Matsui did what he often does best: came through in the clutch. His two-run single on what Hernandez said was the best pitch he threw Godzilla, followed by Bernie's key double to score Matsui = Yanks win a big comeback game against a decent team (the Mess play 10 games better than their final record when the Yanks are involved). 'Bout time.

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