The game was played in a fairly heavy rain and because of this; many of the breaking balls were not as sharp as normal. Both pitchers did a good job of hitting spots pretty well though (considering).
Jeter led off the game with a double as Hudson was not sharp early on and grooved a sinker (his fastball is basically an 89 MPH sinker) to RC for a Jeteresque double. ARod knocked in Jeter with a line drive up the middle when Hudson got another sinker up in the zone; it was nice to see us drive in a run that way.
Kuroda was in trouble most of the game, but the Atlanta lineup can be worked around and while Uggla can hit homers, you can get him with breaking stuff away and pick up strikes with off-speed stuff inside as he pulls them foul a lot. McCann was hitting the cover off the ball against us in the 3 games and was the guy I feared most. Kuroda had a great pattern against McCann in his 2nd AB – he singled in his first AB. With a runner on 2nd and nobody out, Kuroda threw a fastball followed by 3 straight splitters. They tried to throw a fastball inside on the next pitch but it ended up on the outside corner for a foul ball. They decided to come right back inside with the fastball which I thought was a great idea as I think he was expecting going back to something that was not a fastball and Kuroda hit his spot and got McCann to pop up. This was of note because the first time through the lineup Kuroda was throwing a lot of breaking balls and the 2nd time through he was throwing a lot of fastballs and a lot inside (he broke at least 3 bats in the game). It was obvious this was planned. The next time up for McCann was the 5th inning and another guy was on (there were always runners on as Atlanta left 13 men on base). This time, after a splitter and two sliders the count was 1-2 and they tried the fastball and Kuroda missed for a ball. Similar to the previous AB they decided to come inside again with the fastball. This held a higher risk as players don’t like to get jammed twice and Kuroda did not get the ball in enough and it tailed over the plate and the yanks were down 2-1.
Granderson countered with his own 2 run HR (19), after a Jeter single, when he got what was either a change or a cutter that was about 84 MPH and didn’t have any movement; Granderson hit a high fly ball that had under spin which enabled it to keep carrying over the fence. This is obviously the opposite of top spin which pulls the ball down.
Kuroda went to some four seam fastballs in the 6th inning and was hitting 94 a few times and then hit 95 on a strike out of Prado. I was very surprised to see him dial it up to 95. I think of him more a crafty guy who can throw any pitch on any count and moves the pitches all over the place (in, out, up and down), but he reached back and hit 95 for the first time this year.
The Yankee bullpen shut down Atlanta for the final 3 but Logan and Apply each allowed 2 base runners before Soriano only allowed one in clinging to our win. The big play was with 1st and 3rd and one out, Apply got Prado to hit into a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.
I was not impressed with the managerial moves by Atlanta’s manager as in a key spot when Logan was on the mound (2 guys on and down by one run), he let Heyward and Hinske stay in the game. Heyward is young so I could see that as he wants to play the 22 year old with some great tools, but he is awful against lefties with a .568 OPS (.192 BA). However, after Heyward grounded out leaving 1st and 3rd and 2 outs, how could he let Hinske, who isn’t even very good to begin with, bat against a lefty when he was 1-11 against them this year with only 1 walk (OPS .321)? With the count 0-2 Hinske popped out to shallow CF to end the threat. I would have been killing Girardi for that move and after the move yesterday to take out their starter, I am not impressed with their manager Gonzalez.
Soriano closed it out throwing 7 sliders and only 3 fastballs to the first 3 batters (one on) before throwing 4 straight fastballs to Heyward which he dialed up to 93 and 94 and got Heyward to pop up.
We were fortunate Atlanta never got the big hit, but we are winning the close ones!