The Yankees beat the Cardinals in extras last night 6-4. While there were tense moments throughout the game, once the top of the 10th started the Cardinals should have just called it a day and gone home. The Yankees are now 4-1 in extra innings on the season, and are starting to get an air of confidence that is reminiscent of their 2009 season.
The play of the game last night was Brett Gardner’s leaping catch at the wall in the bottom of the 11th inning. Yadier Molina crushed a ball deep to left, seemingly the game-clincher, but Gardner managed to get to the wall and bring it back. Once that catch was made it was even more apparent that the Yankees were about to end the game themselves.
In the top of the 12th the Yankees loaded the bases with some small ball. Between a hit by pitch and two walks, the Yankees patience put them in position to win the game. The Yankees’ patience has historically put them in a position to win and last night showed exactly why. While the team no longer has guys like Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi to get over 100 walks a year, the 2014 squad has the ability to work a pitcher down from any spot in the lineup. Even rookie Yangervis Solarte already has 20 walks on the season.
The extra-inning win last night was the Yankees second in the last week. While the bullpen may not appreciate the extra work, the Yankees and their fans should be excited to see the team fight late in games, especially on the road. The American League East is very close at the top. In a division where historically the top three teams can be separated by three or four games, winning in extras is the difference between winning the division, winning the wild card, or winning nothing. The Yankees are making sure that by October they will be looking down at the rest of the division.