For the most part, Indians starter Scott Kazmir had a good game against the Yankees on Tuesday evening. He went six innings and only ran into difficulty in one of them. But that bad inning, in which he gave up four runs on five consecutive hits, was a very bad inning indeed. With the score 1-0 in favor of the Yankees, Mark Teixeira, who hit a grand slam on Monday, capped the inning with a three-run blast to left field. Not a bad performance for a guy who was on the disabled list a week ago.
Yankees starter David Phelps pitched very well, giving up only one hit and four walks over six innings. He was relieved by Joba Chamberlain at the top of the seventh inning. Chamberlain, whom I’ll never be able to think of without recalling the time the poor man was nearly pestered to death by midges, had a bad inning of his own. After walking Mark Reynolds, then giving up a one-out single to Mike Aviles, Drew Stubbs, batting ninth, hit a home run to right on a fly ball which would have been caught at the warning track in most other MLB parks, and probably at least one or two softball fields, to bring the Indians within a run.
The Tribe tried to rally in the eighth, when Jason Kipnis walked to lead off the inning, followed by a Michael Brantley single. Nick Swisher then hit a line dive which Yankees second baseman Jayson Nix caught. Nix then tossed the ball to shortstop Reid Brignac, thus retiring Kipnis, who broke with the crack of the bat, and stifling the rally.
Reid Brignac, by the way, is an anagram for cigar binder, or acid bringer, or carbide ring. If that information isn’t part of the Yankees media guide, it should be. Feel free to make up your own anagram for Reid Brignac. There are many.
The game ended as Yankees games so often do, with closer Mariano Rivera pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Rivera got a little unneeded help from home plate umpire Tony Randazzo. With two out, Rivera’s first pitch to Mike Aviles was high, and it bounced off the mitt of Yankees catcher Chris Stewart. Aviles, who didn’t swing at the pitch, naturally thought the count was 1-0, and was visibly upset to see the scoreboard show a count of 0-1. He turned to Randazzo, who apparently thought that Aviles had fouled off the pitch. Indians manager Terry Francona came out to argue, but Randazzo, who for all we at IPL know had to hurry to get to Peter Luger’s after the game, didn’t want to hear about it. Two pitches later, Aviles flied out to right, and the game was over, Yankees 4, Indians 3. Aviles then sought out Randazzo to tell him he blew the strike call, which caused the angry Randazzo to eject Aviles from the game which had ended less than ten seconds earlier. In a season which has seen so many inexplicable bad calls, this kind of thing just seems par for the course.
Of course, I’m not saying that call cost the Indians the game. It’s hard to beat the New York Yankees when you get only four hits. Since the Tigers won, the Tribe has fallen to two games out of first in the AL Central. They’ll have to find a way to beat C. C. Sabathia today to avoid their fourth consecutive loss. Given the Indians’ propensity for beating Cy Young winners this season, maybe they will do just that.