Former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin signs a baseball for a fan before the New York Yankees faced the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, June 7, 2009. (Yahoo Sports-AP Photo)
Former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, left, reacts as fans congregate around her before the New York Yankees faced the Tampa Bay Rays in their baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, June 7, 2009. (Daylife-AP Photos)
Oh, yeah....the actual game:
Oh, yeah....the actual game:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mariano Rivera bounced back from a poor outing against Tampa Bay, and the New York Yankees played small ball to rally for three runs in the eighth inning of a 4-3 victory over the Rays on Sunday.
Nick Swisher hit the 100th home run at the new Yankee Stadium, helping Joe Girardi earn his 200th win as a manager. Alfredo Aceves (4-1) pitched two scoreless innings in New York's 20th comeback victory this season.
Hideki Matsui beat out a potential double-play grounder to drive in the go-ahead run, then Rivera pitched a perfect ninth, getting pinch-hitter Evan Longoria to ground to second for the final out and his 13th save.
Girardi ordered Rivera to intentionally walk Longoria on Saturday in the Rays' four-run ninth inning of a 9-7 victory, and the star closer said afterward that he wanted to face the Tampa Bay slugger.
With one out in the eighth, Johnny Damon lined a single off Grant Balfour (2-1), and Mark Teixeira followed with a single to put runners on first and third. Alex Rodriguez walked to load the bases.
J.P. Howell relieved and walked Robinson Cano, making it 3-2. Jorge Posada then hit a bouncer to third that Willy Aybar, playing for an ailing Longoria, couldn't handle. Teixeira scored the tying run, Posada was given an RBI and Aybar was charged with an error.
Matsui chopped a grounder to second and beat the throw to first, preventing an inning-ending double play and giving New York a 4-3 lead.
Girardi is 200-183 in his third year as a major league manager. He was chosen NL Manager of the Year in 2006 with Florida (78-84) after being fired from the job. The Yankees went 89-73 last year and are 33-23 this season.
Swisher's 11th homer in the third made it 28 games in a row with a homer to open the ballpark, extending a record -- Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico opened with long balls in 22 straight.
B.J. Upton had an RBI double and Gabe Gross hit a two-run single in the sixth to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead. The Rays had been 3-0 in New York this season.
Matt Garza outpitched Joba Chamberlain in a matchup of hard-throwing youngsters that was over early. Garza was done after a tense fifth inning, his shortest outing in 12 starts this season, and Chamberlain left after the two-run sixth.
Garza consistently hit 96 mph with his fastball but only threw 56 of his 96 pitches for strikes. He gave up four hits and struck out three. The 25-year-old right-hander, however, walked the first two batters he faced in the fifth and was done after getting Teixeira to pop out with the bases loaded. He had not gone less than 5 2-3 innings this season.
Chamberlain was less fortunate when he issued his first walk -- to load the bases with two outs in the sixth. After giving the pass to Matt Joyce, Gross grounded a ball into center field to make it 3-1.
The walk came a batter after Melky Cabrera made a spectacular diving catch in left-center with two runners on base.
Notes: Alaska Gov. and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin sat in the second row behind home plate.