With one fell swoop, Nick Swisher erased a game’s worth of ills and put an end to a three-game losing streak. With the Yankees trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Swisher belted a two run blast deep into the Orioles bullpen, giving the Yankees a 7-3 home stand and fortifying their narrow lead in the division.
Normally, being swept at home by Baltimore would inspire cataclysmic reactions, but the resurgent Orioles, who had gone 21-13 under Buck Showalter before today’s loss, finally seem as if they are fed up with being the patsies of the AL East. All series, the impressive trio of Matusz, Arrieta and Bergessen shut down a Yankees’ lineup that had been on fire, so some credit has to be given to the gradually developing young arms on the Baltimore staff. Still, it would have stung a little if the Yankees had been swept by the Orioles in the Bronx for the first time since 1986 (see below), so Swisher’s blast certainly came just in the “nick” of time.
The reason the Yankees were able to stage late game heroics is because Ivan Nova turned in another strong outing. From the first batter, Nova exhibited strong command of both his breaking ball and fastball, which allowed him to breeze through the Orioles lineup until the fifth inning. In that frame, Adam Jones reached on an infield single, although replays showed Arod’s throw just beat him, right before Matt Wieters sent a 3-0 fastball deep into the left field stands. That turn of events mirrored what happened in Nova’s first major league start on August 23. In the third inning of that game against the Blue Jays, Nova allowed his only two runs when Jose Bautista belted a home run directly after a blown call turned an out into an infield hit. Each time, Nova was able to regain his composure and keep further runs off the board, so if anything, Nova has shown an ability to handle adversity during his brief stint in the majors.
In addition to Nova’s six innings, the longest outing of his young career, the Yankees also received three more stellar innings from a bullpen that is quickly becoming its main strength. Dave Robertson, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain not only kept the Orioles off the board over the game’s final third, but also didn’t allow a base runner while striking out six.
Instead of heading to Texas with a four game losing streak, the Yankees now get to enjoy their off day awash in the glow of a dramatic victory. One sour note, however, revolves around whether Jorge Posada will be joining them on the flight. After the game, Girardi revealed that Posada suffered concussion-like symptoms after the previous game (and, as a result, was not available to pinch hit for Francisco Cervelli during a key at bat in the seventh inning). Depending on the results of his examination, the Yankees may be without their starting catcher for at least the next few games. Judging by the extent of other concussion-related injuries around the league, the Yankees would probably be wise to give him some time off regardless.
Baltimore’s Last Sweep of the Yankees in the Bronx
|6/6/1986||Baltimore Orioles||L||2||5||S. McGregor||R. Guidry||D. Aase|
|6/7/1986||Baltimore Orioles||L||5||7||M. Boddicker||T. John||D. Aase|
|6/8/1986||Baltimore Orioles||L||9||18||K. Dixon||E. Whitson||T. Martinez|