Many Yankee moments to remember in September

new_york_yankees_logo1The last month of the New York Yankees‘ season could have been anticlimactic – they essentially clinched the AL East when they swept the Boston Red Sox in four games in August. But the Bombers still ended up turning it on throughout the stretch, even when they rested players to tune up for October.

Here are the month’s most memorable moments:

* Beating the Angels three games out of four: In their September 14 makeup game in the Bronx, the Yankees played a running game reminiscent of their Anaheim nemesis, with Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez making a gutsy double steal. Then, when the Yanks returned to the Angels Stadium, where they were swept earlier this season, they surprised everyone by winning two out of three games of their September 21-23 series. The most shocking moment came when manager Joe Girardi used Ian Kennedy in relief in the series finale. Kennedy hadn’t pitched in the majors since suffering an aneurysm in his right arm earlier this year, and he had his work cut out for him with the Yankees clinging to a one-run lead. Radio announcer John Sterling said he was “flabbergasted” to see Kennedy in that situation. But Kennedy hung on, and the Yanks won the game – and the series.

Jorge Posada
Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

* Yankees and Blue Jays brawl: Did Jorge Posada overreact to a pitch that didn’t even touch him? Of course he did. But the September 15 brawl with Toronto was surprisingly intense and brutal – but fun to watch. Even the usually peaceful Joe Girardi was caught up in the scrum. But there was a cost to the violence. Posada got a three-game suspsension – and a stiff neck – from the fight.

* The year of the walkoff continues: The Yankees had three walkoff wins in September, to end the season with 15 such wins. On September 8, Nick Swisher helped the Yankees sweep the Tampa Bay Rays with a walkoff homer. Then Francisco Cervelli, playing for the suspended Posada, hit a game-winning single against the Blue Jays September 16. But the most amazing walkoff win may have taken place on September 29. Despite the fact that most of the Yankee regulars were on the bench, the Bombers still eked out a walkoff win against Kansas City Royals pitcher Kyle Farnsworth. Rookie Juan Miranda got the game-winning hit – and only his second career RBI – in that game.

* Yankees sweep Boston, clinch AL East: It was hard to believe that this was the same Red Sox team that beat the Yankees eight games in a row earlier this year – or the same Yankees team, for that matter. Boston seemed to be going through the motions when playing the Yankees September 25-27 in the Bronx. Joba Chamberlain shut down the Red Sox Friday, and CC Sabathia dominated on Saturday. Then the Yanks swept the series – and clinched the AL East – against the Red Sox on Sunday.

Alex Rodriguez
Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

* A-Rod’s A-Mazing Feat: Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon tried a little payback against the Yankees in their season finale, October 1-3. First, he had the Rays plunk Mark Teixeira that Friday, in retaliation for the Yankees ending Carlos Pena’s season with an HBP. Then, in the last game of the year, Maddon had Teixeira intentionally walked to load the bases, so that the Yankee slugger didn’t get a chance to take the AL lead in homers from Pena. But Rodriguez, the next batter, made Maddon and the Rays pay – he hit a grand slam. This, after his previous three-run homer in the inning, gave him 7 RBIs in the inning, an AL record, and gave the Yankees their 103rd victory. What a way to end the season.

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