Before the eighth inning of yesterday’s Yankees-Twins game, Mariano Rivera had never blown a save at the new Yankee Stadium, and he hadn’t allowed a run in any ballpark thus far in 2010. Before that eighth inning, he hadn’t given up a grand slam since 2002, and the Twins hadn’t won a game in the Bronx — against any pitcher — since July 4, 2007. Jason Kubel changed a lot with one swing.
Kubel’s home run — and the Twins bullpen’s ability to finally close out a game against the Yankees — ended a pretty good weekend on an awfully sour note. Alex Rodriguez hit a completely predictable grand slam of his own to secure a win on Friday night — walking Mark Teixeira so Matt Guerrier could pitch to A-Rod wasn’t Ron Gardenhire’s finest moment — and Andy Pettitte got some help from his defense Saturday in a 7–1 victory.
Assuming that Rivera walking in a run and then allowing a grand slam doesn’t actually signal the end of days — okay, fine, perhaps it really wasn’t that shocking; dude was going to blow a save sooner or later — the Yankees start a quick two-game series against Boston tonight. And since poor Javier Vazquez has been temporarily banished to the bullpen, the Yankees have the pitching matchups they want: Phil Hughes against Daisuke Matsuzaka tonight, and CC Sabathia against Josh Beckett (who’s allowed fourteen earned runs in ten innings against the Yankees this year) tomorrow.