Yanks overcome Mo’s 2nd straight blown save
Miguel Cabrera may not win a second consecutive Triple Crown, but a second straight American League Most Valuable Player Award is not out of the question. In a remarkable at-bat in the top of the ninth inning in which he twisted his left knee and fouled a ball off his left shin, Cabrera stayed upright enough to power a 2-2 cutter from Mariano Rivera into the netting over Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in center field for a game-tying home run.
It was the 34th homer of the season for Cabrera, who hobbled around the batter’s box throughout the at-bat. He leads the AL in batting (.360) and RBI (108) but is a distant second in home runs (by seven) to Orioles first baseman Chris Davis. The home run also scored Austin Jackson, who doubled with one out for his fourth hit and third two-bagger in the game.
That was the second straight blown save for Rivera, who also gave it up Wednesday night at Chicago, but only his fourth in 39 opportunities this year. In such situations, looking back at missed scoring chances haunted the Yankees, who had one hit (a double by Robinson Cano in the third inning) in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Major culprits were the 4-5-6 hitters – Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson, who were a combined 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts in regulation.
Ironically, it was that part of the order that helped construct the winning rally in the 10th when Cabrera’s lack of mobility played a part in the Yankees’ 4-3 victory that ended Detroit’s 12-game winning streak.
Jayson Nix, who replaced Rodriguez defensively at third base in the ninth, led off the 10th with a walk. He began the at-bat with a bunt down the third base line based on testing Cabrera’s wobbly left leg that went foul. Granderson followed with a single to right. A key play was a wild pitch by Al Alburquerque, the Tigers’ seventh pitcher, on a third strike to Lyle Overbay that served the same purpose as a sacrifice.
That forced the Tigers to walk Eduardo Nunez to load the bases to create a situation where there was a force at every base. Alburquerque got a big strikeout of Chris Stewart before Brett Gardner punched a single to the left of Cabrera, who dived for the ball but could not stop it. It was the third hit of the game for Gardner, who also scored twice and stole a base.
It was an important victory for the Yankees coming off four straight losses to substandard clubs (Padres, White Sox) and guaranteed that their record cannot fall below .500 in this series against one of the league’s powerhouses.