Results tagged ‘ Citizens Bank Park ’
The Yankees sure know how to salvage a homestand, don’t they? Thursday’s 3-2, 12-inning victory completed a three-game sweep over the Texas team that beat them out for the American League pennant last year and followed taking three of four from AL Central leading Cleveland (the Indians were in first place during that series, that is).
That’s a pretty impressive finish for a homestand that began with the Red Sox clobbered the Yanks in three games by an aggregate score of 25-13 in a series in which Alex Rodriguez said “Boston embarrassed us.”
Most of his teammates felt the same way, but they showed their resilience by bouncing back against the Tribe and the Rangers, whose pitching staffs rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in the AL. And the Yankees’ one loss in the past two series was by a 1-0 score to the Indians.
The Yankees finished off the homestand with one of the feel-good stories of the year so far. Brian Gordon, 32, who has spent 15 years in the minor leagues originally as an outfielder and until this year as a reliever, gave the Yankees 5 1/3 effective innings as a starter Thursday in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of 47,487 that included his wife, two kids, parents and some other friends and relatives.
“I was more nervous with everything leading up to this,” he said. “But my agent told me to concentrate on my pitching and he’d do the rest. To do this against the Rangers made it even more special. Much of what I learned is due to my time with them.”
Gordon had what they call a cup of coffee with Texas in 2008. It was more like a sip. He got into three games totaling four innings and had a 2.25 ERA. Gordon went back to the minors and was eventually released by the Rangers after the 2009 season before the Phillies signed him, released him and then re-signed him. Gordon’s deal allowed him to opt out of the contract if he was not called up to the major-league club by June 15. He was 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA for the Phils’ Triple A Lehigh Valley club, but with the strongest rotation in baseball there was no room for Gordon at Citizens Bank Park.
There was room at Yankee Stadium for a pitcher, what with Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon on the disabled list. Gordon showed Thursday that he might fill the bill.
“He has definitely evolved,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I don’t remember him being able to move the ball around like he did.”
Gordon said his development of a cut fastball has been a major part of his success, although he said he did not have much of a feel for it Thursday, which may be why he walked three batters and hit two. But he pitched out of trouble effectively and earned a stay in the rotation.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi likes the idea that Gordon, who hit 119 home runs in the minors, can handle the bat because his next start will be Tuesday night in Cincinnati, a National League park where pitchers have to hit in inter-league games.
Another twist for the Yankees is that the game-winning hit came from Brett Gardner off a left-handed reliever, Michael Kirkman, a single to right field. Gardner was not in the original lineup against Texas starter C.J. Wilson, a lefthander, and ended up being the hero. Gardner’s hit scored Curtis Granderson, who no longer has problems with lefties as his leadoff single suggested.
Grandy moved into scoring position with one out when Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch. That was the fifth HBP of the day, an unusually high number for a game in which the teams did not get into a fight. Several were of the ball bounced on the foot variety with no harm intended. The winning pitcher was Corey Wade, another Triple A find (from the Rays’ organization) that the Yankees signed this week. Chalk this victory up to the scouts.
Yankees fans showed their class Monday night by greeting Johnny Damon with a standing ovation in his first game back at Yankee Stadium since Game 6 of last year’s World Series. Damon and the Yankees parted company in the off-season and he moved on to Detroit, but Yankees fans showed that they had not forgotten all he had achieved in his four seasons in pinstripes.
He was one of the Yankees’ World Series heroes in 2009, batting .364 with six runs, two doubles, four RBI and three stolen bases, two coming in his daring double steal of second and third on one play to ignite the three-run, ninth-inning rally that spurred the Yankees to victory in Game 4 at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.
Once a pariah at the Stadium when he played for Boston, Damon jumped to the other side of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and became a favorite in the Bronx for his aggressive, no-holds-barred approach. It was also fitting that his return coincided with the Yankees’ HOPE Week because Damon has long been dedicated to community service.
Johnny won the Roberto Clemente Award, presented annually to the major league player who combines outstanding skills on the field with devoted work in the community, in 2008, the year after he received the Joan Payson Award for community service from the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He was also honored at the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in 2009.
Damon is the national spokesman of the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services designated to ease the burdens of severely injured service men and women and their families by aiding in the recovery process and smoothing the transition back to civilian life. Services include benefits counseling, rehabilitation, adaptive sports opportunities and advocacy initiatives He has made a series of radio and television appearances to create awareness and fundraise for the organization.
Johnny also brought along several Yankee teammates to Walter Reed Army Hospital on several occasions to visit with troops who suffered devastating injuries fighting the war on terror. He visited children suffering from cancer during the 2008 season at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and teamed up with Puma to participate in a fundraiser where a percentage of shoes sold resulted in a donation to the tsunami relief fund.
In 2006, Damon founded the Johnny Damon Foundation, which assists local and national programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for disadvantaged children at risk. The past two years, Damon has hosted the Johnny Damon Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic to raise money for Orlando, Fla., area based charities, such as Winnie Palmer Children’s Hospital, as well as the Wounded Warrior Project. He has been the host of “Johnny Jam,” a star-studded celebrity event with live music, comedy, and silent and live auctions benefitting the Foundation.
During his time with the Yankees, Damon participated in a United States Embassy-sponsored trip in December 2007 around the globe. On the trip, Damon stopped in Bangkok, Thailand, where his mother comes from. Johnny and his family shared in a Thanksgiving lunch with more than 100 orphans at the Rajvithi Home for Girls. Bangkok Gov. Apirak Kosayothin made Johnny an honorary citizen of Bangkok, and Damon presented the governor with an autographed baseball and Yankees cap. Johnny then talked baseball with students at the International School of Bangkok and threw out the first pitch in a game between the Thailand Sanuk and Bangkok SEA little league teams.
A point of irony in Damon’s return was that he came to bat for the Tigers against Javier Vazquez. One of the least favorite moments for Yankees fans at the old Stadium was provided by Damon in his Red Sox years, a grand slam off Vazquez in the second inning of Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. It gave Boston a 6-0 lead on the way to a 10-3 victory that completed the Red Sox’ remarkable comeback in becoming the first baseball team to win a best-of-seven series after having lost the first three games. The Sox went on to win their first World Series in 86 years.
Two years later, however, when Damon came back to Fenway Park with the Yankees, he was regularly booed by those same fans. Would Yankees fans have done that if Damon had a Boston uniform on Monday night? I doubt it.
It wasn’t exactly what Camden Yards is like when the Yankees are in Baltimore, but Yankee Stadium had a fair share of Phillies fans in the seats for Thursday night’s finale of the 2009 World Series rematch, won by the Phils, two games to one. Who would have thought the Yankees’ only victory in the series was the game started by Roy Halladay?
The visitors from Philadelphia, many of whom were clad in the team’s color red, did not have much to cheer about the first three innings when Andy Pettitte retired the first nine batters in order. Along the way, Andy picked up two strikeouts to move into sole possession of second place on the franchise’s career list. The first punchout tied Pettitte with Ron Guidry for the runner-up spot, and he moved ahead of Gator with the second, career No. 1,779. Andy still has a ways to go catch the all-time leader, Whitey Ford, at 1,956.
Cheering could be heard when the Phillies struck for a run in the fourth on a single by Ryan Howard. It was unearned due to an error by Ramiro Pena, who was playing third base in place of Alex Rodriguez, again the designated hitter as he works his way back from tendinitis of the right hip flexor.
Yankees fans then began booing Phillies fans. This went back and forth again in the fifth when Shane Victorino pushed the Phils’ lead to 3-0 with a two-run home run.
The Yankees didn’t give their fans much to cheer about until the sixth. Held to two singles and a walk through five innings by Kyle Kendrick in his first career start against the Yankees, they put together a two-out rally on a walk to Mark Teixeira and singles by Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.
A-Rod, whose running of late has been gingerly, should have been dead at third base, but Howard inexplicably held the ball after cutting off right fielder Jason Werth’s throw and made no attempt for Rodriguez. Nothing came of it as Nick Swisher fouled out to third baseman Placido Polanco, who made a terrific catch sprawling across the tarpaulin.
Yankees fans took charge of the noise in the seventh when Pettitte struck out Howard with the bases loaded to end the inning. It was another milestone for Andy, who tied Bob Shawkey for fifth place on the Yankees’ career innings list at 2,493. Fourth place belongs to Lefty Gomez at 2,497.
With disgruntled Yankees fans leaving early, the Stadium sounded more like Citizens Bank Park in the ninth as Joba Chamberlain, Damaso Marte and Chan Ho Park let the Phillies pull away with four runs. The inning ended because a hard grounder by Ben Francisco struck Raul Ibanez running between second and third.
But none of the umpires apparently saw it. Derek Jeter pointed to Ibanez’s leg and ran off the field, followed by the rest of the Yankees. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel wondered what was going on. There were no Yankees on the field, yet there was no call by an umpire until after a conference among the four plate umpire Tom Hallion made an out sign. Truly weird.
There will be more of this cheering for both sides Friday night when the second installment of this year’s Subway Series comes to the Stadium. Yankees fans must hope to do a better job of drowning out the sounds of Mets fans than they did against the Phillies.