Picking up where we left off the night before, the game started in the top of the sixth inning. Duensing was on the mound for the Minnesota Twins, trying to hold onto the shutout that Scott Baker began the night before. After striking out Kevin Russo on three pitches, Duensing seemed to be on a roll. Then, Captain Clutch stepped up to the plate.
Derek Jeter blasted a solo home run off of the Twin’s lefty, putting the Yankees on the board and taking the lead. AJ Burnett needed the Yankees to score in the first inning of the resumed game (which was the top of the sixth) to put him in line for a win. Who other than our Captain would have his teammate’s back like that? Indeed, Jeter’s home run put Burnett en-route to his first win since facing the Orioles earlier this month.
No one thought that the 1-0 score would hold up, not with the Twins’ lineup, so we were hoping that our bats would at least pad this lead to secure a win for us, and a win for AJ.
They didn’t do that, but the result was still sweet for the team, and for AJ. It would have been a shame to see Burnett’s efforts the night before go to waste.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, David Robertson was on the mound to preserve the lead, and keep us on track for the win. The first batter he faced was Joe Mauer, who is never pleasant to face. Mauer hit a rocket right onto Dave Robertson’s derriere, and we all cringed at the sight and sound of it. Yes, the sound. We heard that ball pop off of D-Rob’s backside. The ball bounced off the butt (hello, alliteration) of Robertson, and right into Alex Rodriguez’s glove. Joe Mauer was out.
For a split-second, we all panicked. With the string of injuries that the Yankees had been suffering from recently, the first thought on my mind upon seeing Robertson get hit was “Oh no. Not another one. Please stop hurting our players!”
There was a visit to the mound to check on Robertson to see if he was alright. Robertson was okay, and a huge sigh of relief spread amongst the Yankee Faithful. Thank God he’s okay. The last thing we need is another player injured, especially a bullpen pitcher.
In the same inning Derek Jeter gave us some of that Jeterian Magic. He made a Vintage Jeter jump-throw to end the inning and save the day. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Jeter’s jump-throw over the years, but I’m still in awe every time I see it. It was as beautiful as it has always been.
So, in one inning, Derek Jeter hit the game-winning home run, and made an amazing defensive play to preserve it. Concurrently, Captain Clutch told all of his haters to collectively suck it.
David Robertson went on to get two more outs, before Joba Chamberlain relieved him. Chamberlain then continued to pitch, and had a beautiful eighth inning. He handed the ball over to God who, of course, got the save.
None of us thought that a 1-0 lead would hold up, but it did. Our three pitchers deserve the highest of praise for their efforts in this game. We can’t always blow-out the opposition by scoring a dozen runs. We need to be able to win these one-run games if we want glory. That’s what we did last season, and hopefully we’ll be continuing to do so this season.