for this game

Giambi's homer lifts Yankees to dramatic win

Jun 5, 2008 - 10:51 PM BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi was one strike away from having to explain a sloppy and frustrating loss. After pinch hitter Jason Giambi launched a slider into the upper deck in right field, that explanation became an afterthought.

Giambi's two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday lifted the Yankees to a dramatic 9-8 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was the fourth career walk-off homer - and third with the Yankees - for Giambi, who crushed an 0-2 pitch from Toronto closer B.J. Ryan (1-2) to cap a three-run rally in the ninth.

"First two (sliders) were really good," Giambi said. "I was kind of looking fastball, but he threw another (slider), and it just didn't do as much as the last two."

Ryan's inability to execute a third straight slider allowed the Yankees to post their biggest comeback of the season and record their first win in 28 games when trailing after eight innings.

"I was just trying to throw a good slider," Ryan said after blowing his second save in 14 opportunities. "I threw a couple of good ones to start him off and then I just made a terrible pitch at a terrible time."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it also was the first time a pinch hitter blasted a walk-off homer on an 0-2 count since Gregg Zaun connected off Arizona's Byung-Hyun Kim in Houston on June 27, 2002.

"It's exciting to be able to come through," Giambi said. "That's the great thing about baseball - you can go from zero to hero real quick."

It took nearly four hours before Giambi stepped in against Ryan. Giambi, who had been 2-for-14 lifetime against the closer, was not in the starting lineup due to a sore foot but told Girardi he was available to pinch hit after finishing batting practice.

Giambi's second regular-season homer as a pinch hitter also was his seventh blast in his last 23 games after opening the season with a .150 batting average.

"It doesn't matter how far it goes," Girardi said. "It just has to go over that little wall. But G's been great for us. I've had a lot of belief even before spring training started that he was going to have a good year for us."

The blast ended what had been an exasperating afternoon for the Yankees, who appeared headed for a certain defeat after another shaky outing by Chien-Ming Wang and a costly error by center fielder Melky Cabrera that led to five Toronto runs in the fifth inning.

Girardi called Thursday's win the biggest of the season for the Yankees.

"You are going to make mistakes from time to time, but it doesn't make you happy," he said. "But obviously to win a game when you make mistakes (is good)."

With runners on first and second and the Yankees trailing, 7-6, in the eighth, Johnny Damon made a bid to put New York ahead. But right fielder Brad Wilkerson - a defensive replacement - tracked down his drive against the wall in right-center field.

Damon's near-miss came on a day when the Yankees were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position through the first eight innings.

That appeared to end the Yankees' chances, especially after Kyle Farnsworth (1-2) gave up an RBI double in the ninth by Matt Stairs, who drove in a season-high five runs.

But the Yankees staged a two-out rally against Ryan as Alex Rodriguez singled, took second on catcher's indifference and scored on Hideki Matsui's single. Giambi, batting for Jose Molina, followed with his first game-winning homer since June 15, 2005 against Pittsburgh's Jose Mesa.

"It's a tough loss right there," Toronto shortstop David Eckstein said. "It's a real tough loss coming here and having an opportunity to take two out of three."

"I can't explain this one," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons added. "We had them right there at the end of the game. It wasn't meant to be, but they got their magic in this place (Yankee Stadium). They got magic. That's why they win every year."

The Blue Jays tied the game, 2-2, on Stairs' two-run homer in the fourth, then appeared to break open the contest in the fifth.

Toronto took a 3-2 lead when Joe Inglett scored from second after Cabrera dropped Alex Rios' line drive that was hit right at the center fielder. Wang then plunked Scott Rolen and allowed Stairs' two-run single and Lyle Overbay's two-run double.

In his second-shortest outing of the season, Wang allowed seven runs - six earned - and five hits in 4 1/3 innings while tying a season high with four walks.

The Yankees battled back, however, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth and pulling within 7-6 on Wilson Betemit's two-run homer in the sixth.

Pinch hitter Jason Giambi's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday lifted the New York Yankees to a dramatic 9-8 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was the fourth career walk-off homer - and third with the Yankees - for Giambi, who belted a 1-2 pitch from Toronto closer B.J. Ryan (1-2) into the upper deck in right field to cap a three-run rally in the ninth.

The blast ended what had been a frustrating afternoon for the Yankees, who appeared headed for a certain defeat after another shaky outing by Chien-Ming Wang and a costly error by center fielder Melky Cabrera led to five Toronto runs in the fifth inning.

With runners on first and second and the Yankees trailing, 7-6, in the eighth, Johnny Damon made a bid to put New York ahead. But right fielder Brad Wilkerson - a defensive replacement - tracked down his drive against the wall in right-center field.

That appeared to end the Yankees' chances, especially after Kyle Farnsworth (1-2) gave up an RBI double in the ninth to Matt Stairs, who drove in a season-high five runs.

But the Yankees staged a two-out rally against Ryan as Alex Rodriguez singled, took second on catcher's indifference and scored on Hideki Matsui's RBI single. Giambi, batting for Jose Molina, followed with his first game-winning homer since June 15, 2005 against Pittsburgh's Jose Mesa.

The Blue Jays tied the game, 2-2, on Stairs' two-run homer in the fourth, then appeared to break open the contest in the fifth.

Toronto took a 3-2 lead when Joe Inglett scored from second after Cabrera dropped Alex Rios' line drive that was right at the center fielder. Wang then plunked Scott Rolen and allowed Stairs' two-run single and Lyle Overbay's two-run double.

In his second-shortest outing of the season, Wang allowed seven runs - six earned - and five hits while tying a season high with four walks.

The Yankees battled back, however, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth and pulling within 7-6 on Wilson Betemit's two-run homer in the sixth.






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    Blue Jays 8, Yankees 9  FinalJun 5 9:29 PM


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    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 0 0 0 2 5 0 0 0 1 8 9 0
    NY YANKEES 2 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 3 9 14 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - DUSTIN MCGOWAN, JESSE CARLSON (6TH), JASON FRASOR (6TH), SCOTT
    DOWNS (7TH), B.J. RYAN (9TH) AND ROD BARAJAS
    NYY - CHIEN-MING WANG, ROSS OHLENDORF (5TH), LATRO

    Jun 5 5:02 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JASON GIAMBI (12) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 9TH OFF B.J. RYAN SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI.
    FINAL SCORE: NY YANKEES 9, TORONTO 8

    Blue Jays 8, Yankees 9  Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 5 5:02 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY HIDEKI MATSUI SCORED ALEX RODRIGUEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H MATSUI ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 8
    NY YANKEES 7 BOTTOM, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J MOLINA (.222, 0 HR, 6 RBI)

    Blue Jays 8, Yankees 7  Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 5 5:00 PM
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    Blue Jays 8, Yankees 7  Bot 9, 0 OutsJun 5 5:00 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY MATT STAIRS SCORED ALEX RIOS.
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    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 8
    NY YANKEES 6 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: L OVERBAY (.279, 1-FOR-4, 2 RBI)

    Blue Jays 8, Yankees 6  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 5 4:44 PM
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    Blue Jays 7, Yankees 6  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 5 4:36 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY WILSON BETEMIT (3) TO LEFT CENTER WITH
    1 OUT IN THE 6TH OFF JESSE CARLSON SCORED ROBINSON CANO.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 7, NY YANKEES 6
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.268, 1-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 7, Yankees 6  Bot 6, 0 OutsJun 5 3:24 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ SCORED JOHNNY DAMON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D JETER ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 7
    NY YANKEES 4 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: H MATSUI (.333, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 7, Yankees 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 5 3:03 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY BOBBY ABREU SCORED MELKY CABRERA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D JETER ON SECOND, J DAMON ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 7
    NY YANKEES 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: A RODRIGUEZ (.291, 0-FOR-1, SF, RBI)

    Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 5 3:00 PM
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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY LYLE OVERBAY SCORED SCOTT ROLEN AND MATT STAIRS.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, L OVERBAY ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 7
    NY YANKEES 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: K MENCH (.222, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 7, Yankees 2  Top 5, 0 OutsJun 5 2:43 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MATT STAIRS SCORED DAVID ECKSTEIN AND ALEX RIOS.
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    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 5
    NY YANKEES 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: L OVERBAY (.277, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 5, Yankees 2  Top 5, 0 OutsJun 5 2:42 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY MELKY CABRERA ALLOWED JOE INGLETT TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A RIOS ON FIRST, D ECKSTEIN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: S ROLEN (.302, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2  Top 5, 0 OutsJun 5 2:39 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MATT STAIRS (7) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 4TH OFF CHIEN-MING WANG SCORED SCOTT ROLEN.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2, NY YANKEES 2
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: L OVERBAY (.278, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 2, Yankees 2  Top 4, 0 OutsJun 5 2:18 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ SCORED DEREK JETER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    NY YANKEES 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: H MATSUI (.337, 6 HR, 28 RBI)

    Blue Jays 0, Yankees 2  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 5 1:23 PM


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    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY BOBBY ABREU SCORED JOHNNY DAMON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D JETER ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    NY YANKEES 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: A RODRIGUEZ (.293, 8 HR, 23 RBI)

    Blue Jays 0, Yankees 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 5 1:22 PM