Bronx, NY—In a conclusion very reminiscent to yesterday afternoon’s Mets victory over Miami, the Yanks defeated the Detroit Tigers, 7-6, on a walk-off passed ball in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Detroit skipper Jim Leyland brought reliever Brayan Villareal into the game in the ninth with the score tied at six. Russell Martin grounded out to start the inning. Derek Jeter, whose hitting streak ended at 15, worked the pitcher for a walk. A wild pitch on ball four to the next batter, Curtis Granderson, moved the alert baserunner, Jeter, to third. Alex Rodriguez stepped to the plate with runners on first and third. A-Rod, cognizant of the difficulty catcher Alex Avila had handling a pitch, waved Jeter to the plate for the winning run.
The Yankee captain gave credit to his teammate at the plate, “I saw Al motion for me to go.”
What was expected to be a pitching duel between Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher currently in the majors, and Ivan Nova, who had won his last 15 decisions, was anything but that. Verlander gave up seven hits and four earned runs in six innings while nova surrendered six runs and 11 hits in 5.1. Neither was involved in the decision.
The Tiger superstar commented, “Obviously, it could have been a lot better.” Of Nova and himself on the mound, he said, “It wasn’t easy. It was cold.”
Yankee starting pitching, expected to be outstanding, has thus far been suspect in 2012. The pinstriped starters are 7-7 with an ERA of 5.95.
The relief corps again saved the game by pitching 3.2 innings of scoreless ball. Mariano Rivera, who came in with the score tied in the ninth, earned the win.
A-Rod, who began the game with a batting average of .221, may have begun his improvement. He hit successfully three times. He drove in a run with a single in the first. He led off the fourth with his 633rd home run, his 288th as a Yankee, moving ahead of Bernie Williams for sixth place, and his fourth of the season. He singled in the eighth and scored the sixth run for the club.
Russell Martin hit a two-run homer off Verlander in the fifth. He explained, “I don’t think he [Verlander] had his best stuff. We took advantage of it.”
Freddy Garcia of the yanks and Drew Smyly of the Tigers are slated to be on the mound for the next contest on Saturday afternoon.
The passing of a great Yankee-It was announced on Friday that Bill “Moose” Skowron died at the age of 81 earlier in the day. Skowron was the Yankee first baseman for nine years, 1954-62. The Yanks were in the World Series in seven of those seasons. In the following year, 1963, great team man. Skowron again played in the Fall Classic as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Yankees. Skowron batted .282 and slugged 211 homers in 14 big league seasons.
The former Yankee was remembered by teammate Yogi Berra, “There weren’t many better guys than Moose. He was a dear friend and a darn good ballplayer too. I’m going to miss him.”’
Skowron, despite suffering from cancer, was last at Yankee stadium in July 2011 at the annual old Timers Day. On that day he said, “This is my home. This is where I made a living. If they invite me, I will be here.” He will always be at yankee stadium in the memories of his many fans.