for this game

Cano gives Yankees walk-off win over Orioles

Sep 20, 2008 - 9:34 PM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- In one of the final games at Yankee Stadium, nothing seemed more appropriate than Mariano Rivera earning the win and the New York Yankees staging a dramatic win in their final at-bat.

Robinson Cano delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Yankees pulled out a dramatic 1-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the penultimate game at the current Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

New York improved to 7-2 in its final homestand at its historic venue, which closes after Sunday night's game. Andy Pettitte, a key member of the four championship teams under Joe Torre will start that one, which left him as a spectator for a well-pitched game between New York rookie Alfredo Aceves and Baltimore's Brian Burres.

The game came down to the last at-bat, when Derek Jeter was hit by Jim Miller's 2-1 pitch to lead off the inning. Getting hit apparently hurt Jeter enough that he was lifted for pinch runner Brett Gardner.

The pitch hit Jeter in the hand, the exact same spot that Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera hit him in the third inning on May 22. Jeter did not miss any time and there is little doubt that he will be in the lineup for Sunday's game.

"It's not broken," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I'm sure it's going to be sore tomorrow but I'd imagine he'd be in there."

"Obviously it doesn't feel good," Jeter said after being X-rayed. "It's not broken."

Jeter said he will definitely play and Miller also said that it was a pitch that got away.

"It was just a fastball that got away from me," Miller said. "I'm not trying to hit that guy in that situation, 0-0 ballgame in the bottom of the ninth. Sure enough, that's the one that scored, cost us the ballgame."

Gardner stole second uncontested and Bobby Abreu looked at three straight balls from Miller before being intentionally walked. That brought up Alex Rodriguez, who has struggled with runners in scoring position all season.

Rodriguez almost hit into a double play but was able to beat the throw from shortstop Juan Castro, putting runners at first and third.

Lefthander Jamie Walker replaced Miller, quickly got ahead of Giambi and eventually struck him out as Rodriguez stole second. Walker then intentionally walked Xavier Nady and, one pitch later, Cano slapped a clean single to center field.

"If we turn two, we're still playing probably," Walker said. "Came down to one pitch and, unfortunately, I was on the losing end of it."

It was Cano's third career walk-off hit but, considering how his week started, it might have been his biggest. He was benched Monday for not backing up Jason Giambi on Sunday and is now 7-for-14 in his last four games since changing some of his hitting mechanics with hitting coach Kevin Long.

"I feel much better," Cano said. "I'm swinging at better pitches. I stay back and that's what I'm doing right now."

"It's great for him," Girardi said. "Obviously, we're seeing the benefits of him making an adjustment at home as he's hitting, and Kevin Long and Robby got together and came up with an idea and it's a huge hit for Robby."

The comeback made a winner out of Rivera, who will pitch the ninth inning Sunday. Rivera struck out Alex Cintron to end the top of the inning.

It also enabled the Yankees to stave off elimination from the wild card race. New York (83-71) is 6 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox with seven games remaining.

"Our goal is to win every game no matter what the situation is," Girardi said. "We have to win a game tomorrow, that's the bottom line."

Rivera's performance came after Aceves continued to make a favorable impression. A year removed from the Mexican League and making just his third career start, Aceves allowed five hits in six innings, walking three and striking out three.

Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte bridged the gap to Rivera. Bruney put two on in the seventh and Marte tossed a hitless eighth.

Baltimore appeared that it would strike first as Brian Roberts led off with his career-high 51st double. Aceves saved further damage by fielding Adam Jones' popped-up bunt and turning it into a double play.

"There's a lot of things that this young man does right," Girardi said. "Just besides throwing strikes and having good stuff, he takes care of the other parts of the game, too."

Aceves' day ended at 91 pitches after he left runners at first and second in the sixth.

Burres filled in for the injured Cabrera and was equally as sharp. He escaped a two-out jam in the fourth and stranded Rodriguez at first in the seventh before Miller struck out two in the eighth.