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CC Shines as MartinWalk Off Homer Gives Yanks Win
(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, September 22-A walk-off homer by Russell Martin, the lead-off batter in the bottom of the ninth on Friday night, gave the Yanks their sixth straight victory and their ninth win in the last 11 games. The win kept the Yanks in first place in the American League East, one game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. The victory was an encouraging start for the Yanks in their weekend set against the Oakland A’s.
The first eight frames were a crisply played and exciting pitching duel between CC Sabathia and Jarrod Parker. Sabathia did not allow a hit during the first five innings. The Yankee starter retired 14 straight batters after Jonny Gomes, the second batter of the game, drew a walk.
Oakland’s first hit was a single to center by Stephen Drew that led off the sixth. Drew’s single with one out in the eighth was the second hit by Oakland.
Sabathia left the game after hurling eight shutout innings. He yielded three hits, two walks and hit a batter during his outstanding stint on the mound. The lefty fanned 11 batters, the fifth time in 2012 when he recorded double figures in strikeout Yankee manager Joe Girardi was pleased by the work of his starter, “I thought his slider and his change-up helped him. I thought he got stronger as the game went on. This season that’s what we’re used to seeing from him. Tonight might have been the best game he pitched this season.”
Walker pitched eight innings and the final score was 2-1 in both of his starts against the Yanks in 2012. On July 5, he gave up five hits and one run while earning the win.
He was at least as impressive on Friday night when he surrendered six hits and a single tally. He fanned seven but did not walk a batter, yet, like Sabathia, was not involved in the decision.
The only run off Walker was scored in the fourth. Nick Swisher led off with a single, moved up on a single by Alex Rodriguez and crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly to left by Curtis Granderson.
The A’s skipper, Bob Melvin, made a wise move in the ninth as pinch hitter Brandon Mossi homered off closer Rafael Soriano to tie the contest.
Russell Martin wasted no time in the tenth as he lifted the second pitch he saw into the left field seats to end the contest.
Two veteran Yankees, who will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame five years after their playing careers end, continued to display their abilities at the plate. Derek Jeter singled to lead-off the sixth, raising his consecutive game hitting streak to 15. Ichiro Suzuki singled in each of his first two trips to the plate. The 38 year old has hit successfully in 11 of his 15 at bats during the last four games. He also stole his 27th base this season.
On Saturday afternoon, Ivan Nova (12-7) will start for the Yanks against Travis Blackley (5-3) for Oakland in the second of the three game series.