In yesterday’s game, the Yankees were able to squeak by without Mariano Rivera, who was unavailable. Today, he was available, but Joe Torre was never able to use to him. Instead, Jeff Nelson surrendered a pinch-hit home run to Matt Stairs to leadoff the ninth which broke a 4-4 tie. Oakland ended up taking the game 6-4.
Nelson fell behind Stairs 2-1, and tried to sneak a sinker by him, but Stairs didn’t miss. “You can’t fall behind hitters and expect good things to happen,” Torre said. “When you fall behind, you eliminate all the guessing in hitting” (Via NY Times).
The Yankees had tied the game the inning before when Tino Martinez smacked a solo home run of his own. “When Tino ties it up, I want to go out there and get our guys in the dugout as fast as we can to try to win it,” Nelson said (Via NY Times).
The Yankees ended their homestand with a disappointing 4-6 record. Luckily, Baltimore got walloped 13-0 by the White Sox, so the Yankees’ division lead remains at six.
Andy Pettitte went seven innings and gave up four runs on eight hits. He had been a perfect 11-0 in day games this year entering today’s contest. He took the mound in the sixth with a 3-1 lead, thanks to an RBI single from Cecil Fielder, a Darryl Strawberry solo shot, and a Jim Leyritz RBI single.
However, Pettitte allowed back-to-back singles to open the sixth before allowing a two run double to Mark McGwire. Brian Lesher stepped up and collected his first major league hit and RBI, and the A’s were up 4-3. “As a starter, my main concern is staying out of a big inning,” Pettitte said. “I didn’t do a good job. I had the lead and I blew it.” (Via NY Times)