Did the fifth inning follies at Yankee Stadium cost the Bombers in the series finale vs. Toronto? As of this writing Phil Hughes continues to struggle, giving up his third long ball of the day, a solo shot by Adam Lind in the top of the sixth, and our neighbors north of the border try to wreck our Independence Day celebration.
The follies throughout the fifth inning really set the Yankees back. Staked to a 3-1 lead Hughes got the first two outs in the top of the frame on just two pitches. Then light-hitting ninth-place hitter John McDonald singled to left. Hughes issued a walk to Fred Lewis and then spun a hanging curveball, thigh high on the inside half of the plate, which DeWayne Wise clubbed off the right field foul pole for a three-run dinger, Wise's first round-tripper of the year.
Wise factored in tremendously in the home half of the fifth. After Nick Swisher laced a single to right-center, Mark Teixeira doubled deep to center, straight over the head of a pursuing Wise. Swisher choked his motor as he rounded second to make the sure the ball was not caught, then tried to crank the engine again. Getting the windmill "go home" signal from third base coach Rob Thomsen, Swisher was dead meat at the dish as the relay from Wise to Gonzalez to Jose Molina, and his a perfect block of the plate, nailed Swisher. Tex continued on to third, one out.
A-Rod then lifted a fly ball to medium right-center. The man of the inning, Wise, gloved it and threw a perfect strike home to Molina whose swipe tag of Teixeira trying to come around the back door with his hand touching the plate before the tag, was on the money completing the inning ending double play.
No one will mistake Swish or Tex for a Brett Gardner or a Ricky Henderson on the base paths. That's three outs, inning over, despite two clean base-hits including a double.
Lady luck has struck again! Similar to A-Rod's gift of a sun-affected double, chasing home three Yankee runners Saturday, Brett Gardner's fly ball to center and our man--guess who, Wise--was misplayed due to the high sky and bright sun. Jorge Posada had singled in front of Gardy, who flew around the bases faster than Wise could play the ball and get it home to Molina once again. Georgie scores, Gardy scores...we're tied 5-5!
Come on boys, we can't let a Canadian based team take a series from us on this 4th of July holiday weekend.