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Birthday Baseball (An Occasional Series): Game 25 – July 12, 2007

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 2007…

***

On Thursday, July 12, 2007, the Yankees began a four game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees came into this game at .500 (43-43), but their opponents were a weak 35-53.

Andy Pettitte (4-6) took to the mound for the visiting Yankees against James Shields (7-4).

The Yankees lineup was as follows:

Johnny Damon – dh

Melky Cabrera – cf

Derek Jeter – ss

Alex Rodriguez – 3b

Hideki Matsui – lf

Jorge Posada – c

Bobby Abreu – rf

Robbie Cano- 2b

Andy Phillips – 1b

The Rays countered with:

Akinori Iwamura – 3b

Carl Crawford – lf

Brendan Harris – ss

Carlos Pena – 1b

Delmon Young – cf

Ty Wigginton – dh

Jonny Gomez – rf

Dioneer Navarro – c

Josh Wilson – 2b

***

This game started quietly for both teams as the both went down in order in the first inning.

The Yankees got their first run of the game in the top of the second inning on a two-out double by Bobby Abreu that scored Alex Rodriguez who had rached on an error by the Rays’ third baseman Akinori Iwamura.

Andy Pettitte then retired the Rays in order in the second inning.

In the top of the third inning, the Yankees got a two-out base runner when Melky Cabrera reached on a bunt single. Cabrera was then gunned down attempting to steal second base.

The Rays then came back to tie the game at 1-2. Jonny Gomes led off with a single , and, one out later, scored on a double by Josh Wilson.

And then came the top of the fourth…

Derek Jeter led off with a home run.

Alex Rodriguez then went back-to-back with Jeter as he also homered.

Two outs later, Bobby Abreu homered to give the Yankees a comfortable 4-1 lead.

The Rays, though, always seem to give the Yankees trouble. They came out ready to make this a game. Brendan Harris doubled. Carlos Pena walked. Delmon Young then singled to load the bases with no outs. Andy Pettitte must have found some inner strength in this spot as he struck out Ty Wigginton, induced a sacrifice fly from Jonny Gomes, and struck out Dioneer Navarro to help the Yankees maintain their lead, now 4-2.

In the fifth, the Yankees then loaded the bases with no outs (Andy Phillips single, Johnny Damon single, Melky Cabrara reached on an error off a would-be sacrifice bunt.). That brought up Derek Jeter…

who grounded into a run scoring double play.

Alex Rodriguez then popped out to end the inning. The Yankees led 5-2.

Andy Pettitte, not wanting to relive the almost nightmare of the previous inning, set the Rays down in order in the fifth.

The Yankees began the sixth with back-to-back doubles from Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada to up their lead to 6-1. That was all they’d get that inning.

The spunky Rays then managed two singles (Brendan Harris and Delmon Young) and a sacrifice fly (Ty Wigginton) to cut the Yankees’ lead to 6-3. That fly ended Pettitte’s night as Luis Vizcaino came in from the pen to strike out Jonny Gomes.

Neither team scored in the seventh.

In the top of the eighth, with James Shields long gone for the Rays, the Alex Rodriguez led off with a walk against Jon Switzer. After a wld pitch and a deep fly out from Hideki Matsui, Jason Hammel came in from the pen to face Jorge Posada, who also walked. Bobby Abreu then singled A-Rod home for the Yankees’ seventh run.

In the bottom of the eighth, Kyle Farnsworth got a bit of everything (a walk, a single, a pop out, a fly out, and a strikeout) as he held the Rays scoreless.

After the Yankees failed to score in the ninth, Mariano Rivera came in to close it out. Rivera struck out Jonny Gomez, retired pinch-hitter Raul Casanova on a ground out and then struck out Josh Wilson to preserve the Yankees’ 7-3 victory.

***

Next in the series… the 2008 Yankees travel to Toronto for an afternoon game against the Blue Jays

***

Yankees Record on July 12 (in this series – since 1968): 19-6

(There were no games played on July 12 in 1971, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, and 2006.)

Hideki Matsui on July 12 (to date): 2 for 8 (.250), double, strikeout

Derek Jeter on July 12 (to date): 8 for 24 (.333), 5 runs, 4 RBI, 5 SO, 2 BB, home run

Mariano Rivera on July 12 (to date): 3 innings, no runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 1 save, 1 blown 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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