The game was looking like one of those games where we would have been lamenting our 0-9 with runners in scoring position, the failed bases loaded opportunity early in the game, another worthless performance by Kearns (especially with RISP), and Jeter watching 2 called strikeouts against himself. I received a text from a friend that said, "we r pathetic."
But, a fantastic AB by Posada started it all off in the 9th inning. This was one of the better "battle" AB's you will ever see. Many times when a guy fouls off a lot of pitches and works a walk or get a hit, you will see many hittable pitches that they just missed. Posada is one of guess hitters in the league. It is why he is way out in front of some pitches and also takes called fastball strikes right down the middle. The Baltimore closer, Uehara, had one blown save all year and that was the Swisher HR against him. Uehara has excellent control so walks are rare against him, he has a 90 MPH fastball he spots well and he has a very good change up that he throws with a splitter grip (80 MPH). Posada took a fastball down the middle for strike one. Then took a change for a ball followed by a change up he was way out in front of for strike 2. Posada then barely fouled off 2 change ups as he was out in front of them. Posada is definitely fighting this here but was probably fortunate when the next fastball was a ball high. Euhara then came back with another fastball that Jorge fouled off and was a little behind on an upper strike. The next pitch was a change that Posada just caught a piece of with the end of his bat to stay alive. The 9th pitch was a fastball that was a very close pitch that was just a little low and now the count was 3-2. The next fastball was on the corner but Jorge fouled it off. On the 11th pitch of the AB Jorge took the change up and dropped it into LC for a huge single to start things off. That AB got me really excited as the closer used a lot of energy and now we had the leadoff hitter on with the top of the lineup coming up. Unfortunately, Jeter had a terrible AB where he swung at ball 2 up high and probably ball 3 as well before taking strike 3 on a very hittable pitch. 4 straight mediocre fastballs 2 or 3 were not even strikes and Jeter takes the best one for a called strike 3...very disappointing. While that did take the wind out of me a little bit, we had 3 really good hitters coming up (Granderson is a really good hitter against righties and even having an off year he has a .828 OPS against righties). After taking 2 fastballs for balls Granderson got a fastball over the plate and drilled it to right where a deep playing Markakis let the sinking liner drop in front of him (I was actually worried Posada may get thrown out at 2nd base). The ball had a lot of top spin but if read really well off the bat I think a catch might have been made. Anyway, we are now in business with Tex up and ARod on deck as long as Tex didn't hit into a DP (I think we have seen too many of them of late). After taking ball one, the ump called the next outside pitch a strike (definitely was a ball) and the count was 1-1. Obviously a big difference, but Tex had an incredibly hittable pitch next and times it right but just got under it and hit a mile high pop up. While ARod was coming up, that pitch was the one they gave us and we didn't take advantage of it...story of the last 10 games. Now up comes ARod. The first pitch to ARod was a little in, but the ump called it a strike (on the border). The next pitch was definitely in and called a ball. The next pitch ARod got a pretty good pitch to hit but fouled it off (he had a mean cut on it). It should be noted that Uehara has thrown 3 straight fastballs inside and you have to wonder when he uses his changeup? the next pitch is another fastball that was just inside. This pitch was more inside than the first called strike on ARod and was correctly called a ball. At this point ARod had a little smile on his face and I didn't see any post game reports as to why, but I think he was feeling the moment and enjoying the competitive nature of a close call. The next pitch was similar to the 3rd pitch that ARod had a great cut on, but this one was centered and ARod crushed a 3 run homer to give the Yanks a 4-3 lead, a Mariano save and coupled with Boston and TB losing, 1st place and a great victory! ARod accounted for all our runs with the 2 HR's tonight!