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Martin Walks This Way While Bullpen is Lights-Out

Yankee bats and starting pitching were subpar in Tampa last night, but a freak of nature punctuated the game and provided New York with a much-needed jolt that propelled them to one of those “good-enough” wins.

Facing a 4-2 deficit in the top of the fifth due to another one of A.J. Burnett’s uneven starts, the Yankees mounted a two-out rally, with Cano at bat and runners on first and second.  Right before the 3-2 pitch, lightning struck a nearby branch line that feeds power into Tropicana Field.  The incident caused a bank of overhead lights to blow out, and the power outage delayed the game for 18 minutes.   When play resumed, however, rookie pitcher Alex Cobb, who far outpitched Burnett by giving up only three hits in six innings, returned in fine form to retire Cano and squelch the rally.

The pitching tide turned in the eighth, as former Yankee reliever Kyle Farnsworth inherited two baserunners and allowed both of them to score.  Conversely, the Yankee bullpen performed swimmingly in relief of Burnett.  Hector Noesi entered in the sixth and pitched the Yankees out of potential trouble.  He also pitched a scoreless seventh.  All-Star righthander David Robertson hurled a perfect eighth, striking out two and lowering his ERA to a miniscule 1.21.  In the absence of Joba Chamberlain and the much-lauded Rafael Soriano, much of the Yankees’ success this season can and should be attributed to Robertson.

The relievers’ efforts gave the Yankees a chance to get back into the game.  Rays rookie Alex Torres came out to pitch the ninth with the score tied.  He gave up a leadoff single and then recorded two outs.  Torres then intentionally walked Nick Swisher, but subsequently walked Andruw Jones to load the bases.  His control definitely in question, Torres then walked Russell Martin to forfeit the lead, one the Yankees would not relinquish.  Mariano Rivera shut down the Rays in the bottom of the ninth, securing his 24th save of the season.

In a game the Yankees should have been guaranteed to win due to the Rays’ exhaustion from playing the Red Sox for 16 innings on Sunday night, the Yankees discovered that, as it has been many times in the past for them, patience is key.  They waited patiently through the delay to continue the game as it should have been played, and their patience at the plate was integral in their win.  The Yankees combined for a total of nine walks, including Martin’s game winner.

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