Yankees hang on to defeat CubsJun 19, 2011 - 2:46 AM
Mariano Rivera gave up a home run to Reed Johnson in the home half, but held the lead to secure New York's seventh win in its last nine games.
Both starters pitched 5 1/3 innings and figured into the decision -- New York's A.J. Burnett (7-5) allowed two runs and got the win, while Chicago's Ryan Dempster (5-6) gave up three runs and took the loss.
But the game's outcome was dependent upon a number of close plays in the late innings.
After the Yankees grabbed a 3-2 edge in the sixth inning, the Cubs threatened in the bottom half thanks to a few errors.
Burnett hit Carlos Pena and Johnson reached on an error by Nunez before being pulled for Cory Wade. Another error, this one by second baseman Robinson Cano, loaded the bases with one away.
Geovany Soto then hit a fly ball to left and Pena broke for home as Brett Gardner caught the ball, which wasn't hit all that deep. Gardner made a strong, accurate throw home that beat Pena by several strides.
Pena ran into catcher Russell Martin, who held on and showed the ball to Pena.
"You know, we're going to do some things that people don't necessarily like, but a lot of times that's just emotion," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
The game remained close after New York wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the eighth, but the Yankees capitalized in the next inning.
With two on and two outs, Nunez doubled to center to plate Cano, who had doubled earlier in the inning. However, Johnson threw out Nick Swisher at the plate to keep it a 4-2 contest.
While the play ended the Yankees' rally and their opportunity to take full control of the game, the run provided necessary insurance. Johnson began the bottom half of the ninth by slugging an elevated fastball over the wall in left center field.
The instant offense brought the earlier missed chances into a new light. Had Pena scored in the sixth, Johnson's homer would have tied the game. On the other hand, had Swisher scored, it might not have made as big a difference.
But that's baseball, or any sport, for that matter. As it stood, Johnson's homer pulled the Cubs within one, and Alfonso Soriano followed with a single to put the tying run on base.
However, the Cubs' potential rally was quickly quelled. Soto grounded to second for a double play, and Rivera struck out Jeff Baker on a check swing to end the game and record his 17th save.
Dempster said his team played a good game, and the result was nothing to get down about.
"We're not going to win every game," Dempster said. "We're playing a really good team over there, we had a chance in the ninth inning against Rivera to get something going, and he just made some good pitches."
Chicago went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position while New York was 4- for-13 and stranded 13, including three in the first inning.
But the Yankees got on the board in the third inning, when they had runners on the corners and one away. Cano lined a double to right to get one run home, and Swisher made it a 2-0 game with a sacrifice fly to center.
Martin followed with a walk and stole second to put runners in scoring position, but Nunez struck out on a foul tip to end the threat.
Burnett gave up the lead in the fourth after walking leadoff batter Blake DeWitt. He faced Pena with one out and delivered a 1-0 fastball in the middle of the zone and over the plate, and Pena slugged it over the right field wall.
The Yankees edged back in front in the sixth after putting runners on the corners, which chased Dempster. Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly off James Russell, but the rally ended when Gardner was picked off and caught in a rundown.
Chicago had won four of five entering Saturday's game...Burnett gave up four hits, walked three and matched a season high with eight strikeouts...Dempster walked six, gave up eight hits and fanned six...Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes, who has been on the disabled list since mid-April because of right shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to start Sunday for Single-A Staten Island...New York improved to 19-4 in day games, the best record in the majors.
- NEW YORK: 4
Jun 18 7:56 PM
- Reed Johnson lead-off Home Run (4) to left. Alfonso Soriano due up.
Yankees 4, Cubs 3 Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 18 7:52 PM
- Eduardo Nunez double to center scored Robinson Cano with two out. On the play, Nick Swisher out at home to end the inning.
Yankees 4, Cubs 2 Mid 9Jun 18 7:50 PM
- Curtis Granderson sacrifice fly to right scored Eduardo Nunez with two out. Runner on first and Mark Teixeira due up.
Yankees 3, Cubs 2 Top 6, 2 OutsJun 18 6:28 PM
- Carlos Pena one-out, two-run Home Run (11) to right scored Blake DeWitt. Reed Johnson due up.
Yankees 2, Cubs 2 Bot 4, 1 OutJun 18 5:39 PM
- Nick Swisher sacrifice fly to center scored Alex Rodriguez with two out. On the play, Robinson Cano advances to third. Runner on third with Russell Martin due up.
Yankees 2, Cubs 0 Top 3, 2 OutsJun 18 5:06 PM
- Robinson Cano double to right scored Curtis Granderson with one out. On the play, Alex Rodriguez advances to third. Runners on second and third with Nick Swisher due up.
Yankees 1, Cubs 0 Top 3, 1 OutJun 18 5:05 PM
- NEW YORK: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Jun 18 4:12 PM
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