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Birthday Baseball (An Occasional Series): Game 26 – July 12, 2008

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 2008…

***

On July 12, 2008, the Yankees headed into Toronto to battle the Blue Jays. These were two closely matched teams. The Yankees were 49-44. The Blue Jays, 46-47.

Darrell Rasner took the mound for the Yankees. He entered the game with a 4-7 record. Opposing him was Jesse Litsch who was 8-5.

The Yankees sent the following lineup into the game:

Derek Jeter – ss

Bobby Abreu – rf

Alex Rodriguez – 3b

Jason Giambi – 1b

Jorge Posada – dh

Robinson Cano – 2b

Melky Cabrera – cf

Chad Moeller – c

Brett Gardner – lf

The Blue Jays countered with:

Joe Inglett – rf

Marco Scutaro – 2b

Lyle Overbay – 1b

Matt Stairs – dh

Brad Wilkerson – cf

Scott Rolen – 3b

Adam Lind – lf

Gregg Zaun – c

John McDonald – ss

***

The Yankees wasted little time scoring in this game as Derek Jeter led off the game with a home run. (He probably did not realize that he had now homered on two consecutive July 12th’s.)

In the bottom of the first, down 1-0, the Blue Jays tied the game on a Joe Inglett triple followed by a Marco Scutaro single. If that was all the Jays got, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but it got worse. Lyle Overbay then reached on a catcher’s interference. One out later, Brad Wilkerson walked. Then, after another out, Adam Lind hit a three run triple.

After one inning, the Blue Jays led 4-1. It was shaping up as an ugly afternoon for the Yankees in Canada.

But, after seeing the Blue Jays load the bases and score lots of runs, the Yankees decided to do the same. Jorge Posada walked. One out later, Melky Cabrera singled. Chad Moeller was then hit-by-a-pitch.

Brett Gardner then singled home a run to make it 4-2.

Derek Jeter then reached on an error by Marco Scutaro that scored a run making it 4-3.

A-Rod then hit a two-run single to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Blue Jays had batters reach on an error (Cano), a single, and a hit batter, but they failed to score any runs.

In the top of the third, Robbie Cano reached on an error by John McDonald, Melky Cabrera singled, and after a runner advancing slow roller ground out by Chad Moeller, Brett Gardner singled home two runs to give the Yankees a 7-4 lead. Derek Jeter then singled home Gardner (who had advanced to second on the throw home) giving the Yankees an 8-4 lead. That was all, then, for Jesse Litsch. Brad Tallet came in and retired Bobby Abreu.

The Blue Jays then went down in order in the third inning.

Alex Rodriguez led off the top of the fourth inning with a home run. This gave the Yankees a 9-4 cushion. (Rodriguez probably did not realize that he had homered on two consecutive July 12th’s.)

And it was there that the scoring stopped…

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the first two Jays batters singled and then Darrell Rasner struck out Marco Scutaro (swinging), Lyle Overbay (looking), and Matt Stairs (swinging) in succession.

In the fifth, Rasner gave up a double to Brad Wilkerson, but then retired the next three batters to end his day.

The Blue Jays were now utilizing their bullpen. Brian Wolfe pitched the fifth and sixth. Jason Frasor pitched the seventh and eighth. Brandon League pitched the ninth.

The Yankees used Edwar Ramirez in the sixth, Jose Veras in the seventh, Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth, and LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth to close out the 9-4 win.

The game began with a collection of big hits, errors, and runs and ended with a collection of back-of-the-bullpen arms to close out the final scoreless innings.

The Yankees won. That’s what mattered.

***

Next, the 2009 Yankees, in their last World Championship season (to date), head to Los Angeles to take on the Angels.

***

Yankees Record on July 12 (in this series – since 1968): 20-6

(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): 10 for 29 (.345), 6 runs, 7 RBI, 5 SO, 2 BB, 2 HR

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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