Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Yanks Home Run Ball Beats Tampa With No Mo

Home cooking is what the New York Yankees needed, even if it is five weeks into the season and a new closer is in the Bronx. Behind three home runs, two from Raul Ibanez and one off the bat of Curtis Grandeson, New York defeated Tampa Bay 5-3 in the first of a three-game series Tuesday night in the Bronx.

Ivan Nova (4-1) got the win in his fifth start of the season. He was coming off a loss to Baltimore last week that snapped a 15-game winning streak that dated back to last June. Nova pitched seven innings, gave up six hits and two runs.

In the sixth inning Nova gave up a solo home run to Jose Molina, and in the seventh inning Luke Scott rounded the bases accounting for the two runs that narrowed the Yankees lead to 3-2.

Mark Teixeira had an RBI double in the eighth inning that paved the way for Yankees manager Joe Girardi to use his new closer, David Robertson, with Mariano Rivera no longer available to close games.

Rivera, baseball’s all-time saves leader is done for the season, awaiting surgery for a torn ACL of the right knee which was injured shagging fly balls in the outfield at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City last week.

“Not to write Mo’s name on the top, because I do it in a certain order, was strange to me,” said Girardi after the Yankees win. “So that was kind of like OK, he’s not coming out of the bullpen.

It was not the tune of “Sandman” that was played when Robertson trotted out of the pen to the mound. What was left of the 37,066 in attendance on a soggy night in the Bronx heard a new tune, “Sweet Home Alabama” for the entrance of Robertson.

Robertson, now the apparent closer came on in the ninth for his first save of the season, after Rafael Soriano worked the eighth and gave up a run enabling New York to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Rays. Tampa Bay swept three games from the Yankees last month down in Tampa to open the season.

Robertson would load the bases and struck out Carlos Pena to earn his fourth career save. It was a struggle, but like Rivera got the job done.

“Tonight, I was thinking,” said Robertson. It was life now after Mariano Rivera. “Geez better not blow your first one,” he said, “Better not blow your first opportunity or Mo might come in here and smack me around.”

James Shields (5-1) got his first loss of the season allowing three runs, four hits in six innings. He gave up six runs to the Yankees on opening day when Rivera blew the save. Pena, who has hit 23 home runs against the Yankees, over the last eight years, seven more than any other player in baseball went 0-for-4 and was a victim of three strikeouts from Nova.

For now though, it is Robertson and “Alabama” In the Bronx and not “Sandman” and Mariano Rivera.

This post is provided in part by Hudson County Exterminator & Promotional Items Corporate Gifts

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