Andy Pettitte’s evening began with two well placed bloopers by Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham, which was a little disconcerting considering that everything this season seemed to be falling just right for the Yankees’ lefty. A hanging slider to Paul Konerko confirmed that change in karma, as the major league’s home run leader upped his total to 11.
In the bottom of the first, the Yankees immediately jumped on Sox’ starter Freddy Garcia. Alex Rodriquez ripped an RBI double that snapped a 0-19 drought, and then Robinson Cano followed with a rocket single past second base that plated another run. With Arod on third and Cano on first, Nick Swisher slashed a groundball toward first base. Konerko tagged the bag and then fired to second to nab a sliding Cano. The putout occurred before Arod had a chance to cross home, so the tying run was nullified. Had Cano simply stopped in the baseline, the run would have counted and the game would have been knotted at three. After the inning, first base coach Mick Kelleher had a quick conversation with Cano, who then immediately realized the mistake he had made. As Jeter trotted out to his position, he gave Cano a consoling gesture.
Another mental error in the top of the second inning allowed the White Sox to add a fourth run. With runners on first and second and no outs, Alexei Ramirez hit a one hopper to Arod, who missed an attempted tag of Donny Lucy as he crossed in the base path. Arod did force Pierre at second, but failing to get the lead runner or immediately go for two made the eventual sacrifice fly possible.
For the next four innings, it looked as if the two lapses in judgment might come back to haunt the Yankees, but then Brett Gardner singled off Garcia with two outs in the fifth. Gardner then stole second, and in the process may have diverted Garcia’s attention from Jeter. On the very next pitch, Garcia hung a slow curve and the Captain drilled it into the seats for a 2-run homer.
With the score deadlocked, Pettitte breezed through the sixth and then Alfredo Aceves pitched into and out of trouble in the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Matt Thornton looked as if he would also put up a scoreless frame when he struck out Curtis Granderson and went 0-2 on Francisco Cervelli. Thornton’s next pitch was a 95mph fastball that hit Cervelli square in the back, and it all unraveled from there. Brett Gardner followed with a single up the middle, bringing Jeter to the plate once again. On a 2-0 pitch, Jeter ripped a line drive down the right field line that just curved foul. Undeterred, Thornton kept pumping his 95mph fastball, but Jeter finally timed the pitch and once again scalded a liner toward right. This time, the ball landed past a diving Jayson Nix and ended up as a 2-run triple for the Captain. With Jeter at third, Girardi pinch hit for Nick Johnson with Jorge Posasa, who wound up striking out. The substitution raised a few eyebrows as it belied Girardi’s dwindling confidence in the struggling Johnson.
After Damaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain combined on a scoreless 8th inning, Mariano slammed the door on Sox by striking out Ramirez and Beckham to close out the ninth. During the inning, Mo regularly hit 92-93mph on the gun, a notch above his early season velocity.
- The four runs given up by Andy Pettitte matched the total he had surrendered over his previous four starts.
- The Yankees ended April at 15-7, their best opening month record since going 21-6 in 2003.
- Robinson Cano ended the month of April hitting .400 on the nose. He is only the fourth Yankee to finish the first month at that level, joining Paul O’Neil, Willie Randolph and Clete Boyer.