UPDATED WITH POST-GAME QUOTES
Mariano Rivera just converted his 30th save opportunity in a row with a 1-2-3 ninth as the Yankees down the Mariners 4-2. Mark Teixeira hit the go-ahead homer in the ninth off Mark Lowe and the Bronx Bombers added an insurance marker for good measure after that.
Teams usually don’t win when they fail to score after the first inning, as the Mariners did tonight. But they had their shot. The difference was two non-plays on defense, with Jose Lopez muffing the double-play chance in the second and the failure to at least knock down a grounder to the left side by Derek Jeter in the fifth.
“I was thinking about trying to make the play,” shortstop Josh Wilson said, adding that he saw the ball all the way and wasn’t screened by third baseman Jack Hannahan.
Wilson added that he probably should have been more concerned about the runner at second and simply tried to knock the ball down instead of throwing the runner out at first.
“I went at it trying to make the play and it didn;t turn out too good,” he added.
Great outing by Ryan Rowland-Smith, but not enough because of those two plays not made.
“I just competed,” he said. “I threw strikes out there and went right at them.”
Rowland-Smith said his first inning was a little shaky, with some missed curve balls and change-ups. But once he began pitching-to-contact, he breezed through the ensuing innings.
“It’s always the first couple of innings that I’m trying to settle in,” he said. “It seems like once I settle in after those first couple of innings, I wind up pitching the way I want.”
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said Rowland-Smith did “a miraculous job” of keeping Seattle in a game it failed to score in after the first inning. Wakamatsu admitted he hesitated at pulling Rowland-Smith out, but felt he’d work very hard to get to where he was and that the number of breaking balls he was throwing might have tired his arm a bit.
In any event. he added, he had confidence in Lowe, who breezed through the eighth and then made “one bad pitch” to Teixeira.
But Wakamatsu also felt his team needed to do more against Andy Pettitte, who pitch count was up around 60 after three innings. Wakamatsu liked the approach of his hitters those first few frames, but felt they let Pettitte off the hook a bit with their swings in the next few innings, when the lefty fanned four out of six hitters at one point.
And that’s your ballgame.