- Last Updated: 12:45 PM, May 19, 2011
- Posted: 3:39 AM, May 19, 2011
BALTIMORE — It took almost five hours to complete and included a flushed save from Mariano Rivera, a frightening moment when Chris Dickerson got hit in the head by a pitch, A.J. Burnett appearing as a pinch-runner and a sensational major league debut by Hector Noesi.
And when the Yankees ducked out of Camden Yards with a 4-1 victory that required 15 innings and four hours, 56 minutes to finish, Bartolo Colon’s eight masterpiece innings in front of 20,589 seemed like a long time ago.
“My participation wasn’t good,” Rivera said of his third blown save, which occurred after Colon was lifted following eight shutout innings in which he only threw 87 pitches. “Colon deserved to win the game.”
Manager Joe Girardi said lifting Colon wasn’t a slam dunk. But . . .
“I have Mariano Rivera, that’s why I made the move,” Girardi said.
After Rivera gave up a run in the ninth on Vladimir Guerrero’s sacrifice fly, Luis Ayala, Boone Logan and Noesi provided six scoreless innings.
The 24-year-old Noesi went four frames, gave up four hits, four walks and fanned four to get the victory that was made possible by Robinson Cano’s two-run double in the 15th.
“[Cano] said, ‘That’s for you,’ “ said the right-handed Noesi, who fanned the first two big-league batters he faced, left the bases loaded in the 12th, stranded two in the 13th and two more in the final frame.
“That’s one he won’t want to forget,” said Girardi, who didn’t have Joba Chamberlain (three straight games) and wanted to stay away from David Robertson, who warmed up in the 15th and might not be available tonight. “He threw strikes right away. Any time a guy throws first-pitch strikes and he has never pitched [in the majors] before, that’s impressive.”
Asked to protect a 1-0 lead in the ninth, Rivera retired Felix Pie to start the inning. But consecutive singles by Adam Jones and Nick Markakis put runners at the corners for Guerrero and he lofted the first pitch to left to score Jones and tie the score, 1-1.
“I didn’t make my pitches and the ball found holes,” said Rivera, who also blew a save against the Orioles on April 24 and watched the Yankees come back to win, 6-3. “It was a bad day at the office. We won the game, that’s the most important thing.”
The Yankees’ second straight win allowed them to stay two games behind the AL East-leading Rays. And with CC Sabathia starting tonight with a 15-2 career record against the Orioles (9-1 at Camden Yards), the Yankees have a strong chance to win a series.
“That’s a terrible loss if you don’t come up with the win, but it’s a fun win,” said Mark Teixeira, who saved the game by snagging Alex Rodriguez’s wild throw to first on Guerrero’s infield single with runners on first and second and one out in the 11th.
After scoring an unearned run against Orioles rookie Zach Britton in seven innings, the Yankees had multiple chances to score and didn’t until the 15th. They left two on in the 12th, the bases loaded in the 13th and another in the 14th.
They broke through in the 15th when Teixeira and Rodriguez opened the innings with singles and Cano drilled reliever Mike Gonzalez’s first pitch for a two-run double. Gonzalez then drilled Chris Dickerson in the head. With the Yankees out of position players besides Jorge Posada, the Yankees called on Burnett to pinch run. He never moved, as the Yankees got their final run on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly.
For the game they went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 runners.
“To lose a game like that would have been tough,” Girardi said.
Thanks to every pitcher but Rivera, it wasn’t.