There were two big stories during today’s Yankees-Nationals game. One was the Andy Pettitte-Bryce Harper showdown: The just turned 40-year-old, grizzled vet, was going up against the exciting 19-year- old rookie phenom and people were wondering how both would respond to the hype. Well, Yankee fans were relieved when Pettitte won round one convincingly, retiring Harper every time he faced him, including three strike outs. Harper finished 0-7 with five strikeouts on the day and made the last out to end the game – a ground out to first.
The second big story was Freddy Garcia’s performance. Garcia came into the game in the 12th inning. A lot of people – myself included – didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt. We all figured the Nats would end up winning on a walk-off. Instead, Garcia shut everyone up and pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts and earned his first win since last September.
The Yankees had a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning when Cory Wade – who has been great this season – gave up the game tying home run to Ian Desmond who atoned for a couple fielding miscues earlier in the game. That home run took the win away from Andy Pettitte who pitched seven strong innings – giving up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
The game remained tied until the top of the 14th when the Nats brought every opposing team’s favorite reliever Brad Lidge. Jayson Nix and Derek Jeter hit back to back singles to start the inning, Curtis Granderson followed with a strikeout and Mark Teixeira doubled on a 2-1 pitch which allowed both Jeter and Nix to score putting the Yankees ahead for good 5-3.
Rafael Soriano came in to pitch the bottom of the 14th, made it slightly scary for all watching but retired Harper for the last out to earn his 12th save of the season. That mark matches Steve Karsay’s 12 saves in 2002, the most by a Yankee closer other than Mariano Rivera since 1997.
Nick Swisher was injured on a play at the plate in the sixth inning. He has a bone bruise in his left thigh and is day to day – for now.