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Birthday Baseball (An Occasional Series): Game 22 – July 12, 2001

By now our readers know the story… I am looking back to see how the Yankees performed on my birthday each year since I’ve been born and then telling the story of what took place on that summer day.

As always, whenever I do research like this, my first two stops are always Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference.

Let’s head back to 2001…

***

Thursday, July 12, 2001 saw the Yankees in Florida playing the Florida Marlins.

The Yankees came into this game with a 52-34 record. The Marlins were 43-45.

Future Hall-of-Famer, Mike Mussina (9-7) took the mound for the Yankees.

Future Yankee, A.J. Burnett (5-5) was the Marlins’ pitcher.

The following was the Yankees line-up:

Chuck Knoblauch -lf

Derek Jeter – ss

Bernie Williams – cf

Tino Martinez -1b

Jorge Posada – c

Paul O’Neill – rf

Scott Brosius – 3b

Alfonso Soriano – 2b

Mike Mussina – P

(This was a game in a National League park, so there was no Designated Hitter.

The Marlins countered with the following:

Luis Castillo – 2b

Eric Owens – cf

Cliff Floyd – lf

Mike Lowell – 3b

Kevin Millar – rf

Derrek Lee – 1b

Charles Johnson – c

Alex Gonzalez – ss

A.J. Burnett – P

***

In the visiting ballpark, the Yankees batted first. And it started off so well.

Chuck Knoblauch walked. Derek Jeter then walked. Bernie Williams then followed with a ground out to third that advanced the runners. Knoblauch scored on a Tino Martinez ground out. Jorge Posada then struck out.

In the bottom of the first, it all went south for New York.

Luis Castillo had a lead-off single. The next two batters were retired. Mike Lowell then singled. Kevin Millar (he and Lowell always killed the Yankees) then hit a three-run home run.

Mike Mussina gave up two more singles before recording the final out.

After one inning, the Marlins led 3-1.

Both teams went down in order in the second inning.

In the Yankees’ third, Mike Mussina struck out to start the frame. (Boy, do I love watching pitchers swing and miss rather than seeing a DH). Chuck Knoblauch was then hit by a pitch and removed from the game. Derek Jeter then singled…

But Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez got out and the Yankees were still losing.

In the bottom of the third, the Marlins delivered some misery…

Cliff Floyd doubled. Mike Lowell (again) singled him home giving Florida a 4-1 lead. Kevin Millar (again) then doubled Lowell to third. Derrek Lee then singled home a run. Charles Johnson then singled home the Marlins’ sixth run.

It was here that Mike Mussina’s night ended. In two innings, he allowed ten hits. Ten. OUCH!

Randy Choate came in out of the pen. The Marlins though weren’t done…

Alex Gonzalez singled home a run. A.J. Burnett sacrificed. Luis Castllo then singled home two more runs.

…and when the dust had lifted and they saw what had occurred

The Marlins were leading 9-1 and all who watched thought that this was absurd.

In the top of the fourth, the Yankees got their second run when Jorge Posada reached on an E-7 and he was driven home on a Paul O’Neill single.

Randy Choate then retired Florida in order.

In the Yankees’ fifth, Derek Jeter had a two-out walk. But that was all.

The Marlins also got nothing although Randy Choate actually plunked A.J. Burnett with a pitch.

The Yankees began the sixth with back-to-back walks, but, like the first inning, the rally was cut short on a ground out (that advanced the runners) and a sacrifice fly making the score 9-3.

The Marlins got nothing in the 6th. Randy Choate did a good job (after his initial inning) of keeping Florida quiet.

Vladimir Nunez then came in to pitch for the Marlins. He made easy work of the Yankees in the seventh.

Randy Choate was the relieved by Mark Wohlers.

Mark Wohlers was a Yankee? I don’t remember this at all…

(Wohlers was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds on July 1, 2001 in a trade for a minor league pitcher. Mark Wohlers pitched in 31 games for the Yankees that year. He went 1-0, 4.54 with no saves. )

Wohlers retired the Marlins in order.

The Yankees went down in order in the eighth.

The Marlins (now facing Mike Stanton) also went down in order.

In the ninth, the Yankees got two singles, both with two outs, before Shane Spencer (who entered the game for Chuck Knoblauch after he was hit by the pitch) grounded out to end the game.

It was an ugly game.

***

In 2002, July 12 would see the Yankees battling in Cleveland.

Amazingly, Mark Wohlers would pitch in that game as well and factor in the decision.

***

Yankees Record on July 12 (in this series – since 1968): 18-4

(There were no games played on July 12 in 1971, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2000.)

Derek Jeter on July 12 (to date): 5 for 12 (.417), 3 runs, 3 RBI, 2 SO, 2 BB

Mariano Rivera on July 12 (to date): .2 innings, no runs, no hits, no walks, 2 strikeouts, 1 save (0.00)

Don Mattingly on July 12 (in his career on July 12): 12 for 31 (.387), 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, SO

Graig Nettles (as a Yankee on July 12): 33 AB, 7 hits (.212), 1 run, 5 strikeouts, 4 walks. 1 RBI (I had hoped that my favorite player would have done better on my birthday.)

#BirthdayBaseball

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