The Yankees got a pair of big two-run home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning by Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez to tie the game at 4-4, but lost the game in extra innings as they lost 6-4 to drop the first game of the ALCS.
Losing the game was bad, but perhaps even worse was losing Derek Jeter, who broke his ankle on a ground ball in the 12th inning. He’s out at least three months which means there is no chance he will come back this season. Expect Eduardo Nunez to be activated and probably start with the righty on the mound Sunday.
Back to this game, the Yankees offense barely showed up for this game. They failed to score a run through the first eight innings despite loading the bases three different times and getting runners on base in other innings as well.
There were three major turning points in that time though.
The first was in the first inning, bases loaded and two outs with Alex Rodriguez at the plate. A-Rod smashed the ball in the hold to the left of short, but Jhonny Peralta made a great play and barely got the runner at second, saving a run.
Another was in the second inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Robinson Cano smashed a ball up the middle that caught Doug Fister on the foot and bounced to Peralta, who made a bare-handed throw to first and umpire Rob Drake called him out. Replays showed that Cano was safe and the missed call by the umpire had cost the Yankees a run.
Another was a questionable call by Joe Girardi. Starting pitcher Andy Pettitte was impressive early on, but struggled in the sixth and was lifted in the seventh. Instead of Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Cody Eppley, or even David Phelps, Girardi went with Derek Lowe. Lowe threw three quick pitches to strikeout Miguel Cabrera, but the next inning Lowe was much two hittable and was eventually charged with two runs on a double by Delmon Young and a singly by Andy Dirks. By not going with one of his better relievers, Girardi hurt his chances at keeping it 2-0.
So the Yankees were having a bit of bad luck. A great play, a blown call, and a bad decision by the manager and the Yankees are trailing 4-0. Then something amazing happened. Ichiro and Ibanez both hit two-run home runs to tie the game at 4-4. Suddenly they had a second chance.
Unfortunately, the offense fell asleep after that. They were silent as the Tigers scored a pair of runs in the top of the twelth on a Delmon Young double and an Andy Dirks single that made it 6-4. That was the inning that Jeter broke his ankle fielding a ball to his left. After Jeter got hurt the stadium lost all its energy and the bats went down quickly. A frustrating game with a bit of memorable heroics in the ninth inning was over.
Going down 1-0 in a seven game series isn’t a big deal, but losing Jeter is huge. Now we have to worry every time the ball is hit toward short. Nunez has much better range than Jeter, but doesn’t have his hands or accuracy whatsoever.
Hiroki Kuroda, pitching for the first time ever on short rest, will try to even the series against Anibal Sanchez, who was terrible against the Yankees in August, Sunday afternoon at 4:07 p.m. Since it’s in afternoon game tickets will be cheap. If you want to go to the game support Bronx Baseball Daily and buy the tickets through our partner.