06/05/08 8:05 PM ET
Giambi's walk-off caps Yanks' wild win
Pinch-hit game-winner helps erase five-run deficit to Blue Jays
By Willie Bans / MLB.com
But he was OK to hit, and he made his only at-bat against the Blue Jays on Thursday count.
Giambi's pinch-hit, two-run homer off B.J. Ryan in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Yankees to a 9-8 victory over the Jays at Yankee Stadium.
Giambi was looking for a fastball following two sliders that put the count at 0-2. But another slider, not as sharp as the others, came out of Ryan's hand. Giambi bashed his team-leading 12th homer into the upper deck in right field, mere feet away from the foul pole.
Before Giambi approached the plate, Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked him if he wanted in, considering his foot pain and his 2-for-13 career mark against Ryan. Giambi accepted.
"[Girardi] says, 'What do you think?'" said Giambi, whose homer evened the Yankees' record at 30-30 and dropped the Blue Jays to 32-30. "I said, 'Give me a shot. I'll go.' Luckily, it all worked out. Like I said, I got that one mistake, and with a guy like B.J., you might only get one mistake."
With the Yankees down by two runs heading to the ninth, Ryan recorded the first two outs before Alex Rodriguez kept the inning alive with a single. Hideki Matsui followed with a single to score Rodriguez and bring the Yankees to within one run before Giambi stepped in.
The late heroics from Giambi -- whose left foot was hit by a pitch in the first game of the series, which New York lost, 9-3 -- rescued the Yankees after, for the fourth straight start, Chien-Ming Wang gave up more than five runs. Wang, who has a 4.57 ERA, was done in by a shaky fifth inning that included a costly defensive lapse from center fielder Melky Cabrera.
The Jays went ahead, 3-2, when Cabrera dropped what should have been a routine lineout by Alex Rios with one out in the fifth. The error allowed Joe Inglett to score and washed away a probable inning-ending double play because Inglett had nearly rounded third base from second.
Wang tossed 4 1/3 innings and surrendered seven runs (six earned) on four hits -- including a two-run homer by Matt Stairs -- and four walks. A two-run double by Lyle Overbay extended the Jays' lead to 7-2 and capped a five-run fifth inning. Wang has now gone six straight starts without a win, the longest such streak of his career.
Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland pointed to mechanics as Wang's biggest problem, saying, "He's getting underneath pitches."
Wang said he may be overthrowing, and his arm is dropping too low in his delivery.
"I have to watch video, work in the bullpen and try to fix it," Wang said.
Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth (1-2) picked up the win after giving up one earned run in the ninth, while Ryan (1-2) recorded the loss.
In his first game since April 26, catcher Jorge Posada went 1-for-3 and led off the second with a first-pitch single. Posada was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Wednesday's game.
Posada said he felt no pain in his sore right shoulder when he unsuccessfully tried to throw out Toronto's Brad Wilkerson at second base.
Johnny Damon, who went 2-for-3 with two runs and two walks to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, said Giambi's game-winning homer "turned a bad day into a good day."
It seems Girardi won't forget both parts of the day, though, saying Wang's pitching and Cabrera's error can't become the norm.
"You can't make mistakes and consistently win games," Girardi said. "When you get into close games, you have to do the little things right."
In fourth place in the American League East, the Yankees will likely take wins any way they can get them, and the fashion in which they received one on Thursday may be a boost, Giambi said.
"That's the great think about this game," Giambi said after the game, with tape still wrapped around his left foot. "You can go from zero to hero in a second.
"We got away with one, and hopefully, it will propel us forward."
Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.