10/19/10 1:15 AM ET
Gardner's spark quickly extinguished
Speedster does his part, but Lee neutralizes rest of lineup
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
"It's tough when a guy's on top of his game like that and you're trying to get things going, and no matter how hard you try or no matter what you do, you can't seem to get anything going," Gardner said.
Gardner was the bright spot of the Yankees' offense in Monday night's 8-0 loss to the Rangers in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, but that's kind of like being a point of light in a black hole. In recording the only hard-hit single off Lee, Gardner pretty much lapped the competition for that distinction.
Facing a pitcher of Lee's stature -- and on a night when he is so clearly, from the start, on top of his game -- it was obvious the Yankees were going to need to manufacture some runs. That's Gardner's specialty, and he knew going in that "every little play matters" -- like the one he made beating out an infield single in the eighth inning of Game 1.
In Game 3, though, Lee and the fates conspired to prevent those plays from sparking New York's offense.
With two outs in the third, Gardner hit a grounder to first baseman Mitch Moreland's right. Gardner's head-first slide appeared to beat Lee to first, but Gardner's left hand skidded past the bag without ever making contact with it. It seemed fitting; with the way Lee was pitching, there appeared to be a force field around first for New York's offense.
"It was real, real close," Gardner said of the play at first. "I wasn't sure if I got the base or not, even on replay. ... It wasn't worth arguing over."
Gardner led off the sixth with that clean single to center -- just the Bombers' second hit of the night. He was able to steal second off the battery of Lee and Bengie Molina, putting himself in scoring position with no outs.
"He's difficult to run against," Gardner said. "You just try to pick a pitch, get a runner in scoring position and get some things going."
Derek Jeter, however, couldn't get Gardner to third, striking out instead. Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira each grounded out to end the inning.
"It's frustrating, but it was kind of frustrating all night," Gardner said. "We had trouble getting guys on base, getting things going. It just wasn't our night."
Yanks go with same lineup from Game 1
NEW YORK -- The Yankees trotted out the same lineup that rallied to win the first game of the American League Championship Series for Game 3 on Monday, hoping that it will be able to produce similar results against Rangers left-hander Cliff Lee.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he was not tempted to do anything differently with his designated-hitter spot, which will be filled by Marcus Thames, batting sixth.
Thames has enjoyed some success against Lee, whom he faced often while Thames was with the Tigers and Lee was pitching for the Indians. In 36 career at-bats, Thames has seven hits -- five for extra bases, including three home runs. He also has 15 strikeouts.
"The guy's got good stuff, and when he's made mistakes, Marcus has got him," Girardi said. "We talk about [Lee], when he makes a mistake, you've got to get him. Well, Marcus is that type of guy."
Girardi said there was no temptation to offer some right-handed swings to the switch-hitting Lance Berkman, who has three hits -- including two doubles -- in eight at-bats against Lee.
"Marcus has been our DH against lefties and he's done a good job," Girardi said. "I don't see any reason why we would change."
Burnett's catcher for Game 4 undecided
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are proceeding as though A.J. Burnett will indeed be on the mound for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday, but they aren't yet ready to say whom his catcher will be.
Jorge Posada has started all six of New York's postseason games to this point, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi wouldn't say Monday if he was planning on catching Posada or backup Francisco Cervelli.
"We will worry about that [Tuesday]," Girardi said.
In last year's postseason, Burnett worked with backup Jose Molina for all five of his postseason starts. This year, Burnett worked with Cervelli in 25 games, pitching to a 4.66 ERA and .274 batting average against in 129 1/3 innings, compared with a 7.28 ERA and .340 batting average against in eight games and 38 1/3 innings with Posada.
"We are both confident with each other, and I have no worries Jorge can handle me," Burnett said. "I know he can handle me. Whoever is behind the plate, I'll be ready for it."
As for the continued speculation as to the identity of New York's Game 4 starter, general manager Brian Cashman did his best to douse it on Monday, saying there was "no wiggle room" to switch Burnett with CC Sabathia on short rest -- no matter the outcome of Game 3. Girardi said he felt no need to address the topic with Burnett.
"I've never sent a message that we're making a change," Girardi said. "I think if I would have said, 'You know what, depending on what happens in Game 3 is what we're going to do.' I've never said that. People have speculated. ... If A.J. had a question, he'd come right out and ask me."
Pettitte aims to control Rangers' running game
NEW YORK -- Left-hander Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' starter for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, is known for controlling the running game. His 27 pickoffs in the past five years rank second behind White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle, who has 41.
The Rangers are known to be active on the bases. After all, they pulled off a double steal in Game 2 against New York on Saturday. But don't expect them to stop wrecking havoc on the bases because Pettitte is on the mound, according to Rangers manager Ron Washington.
This year, the Rangers have stolen two bases in three attempts against Pettitte.
"You know, we'll show up as usual," Washington said. "We'll go play. If we can't run the bases, we're not going to force it. We can play baseball in many ways. Whatever it takes for us to do on that day to win a ballgame, we'll do.
"I think everybody in baseball knows what Andy Pettitte is all about. We certainly know. It's going to be a very good game [Monday] night. And once again, we're looking for opportunities. We're looking to take advantage, as they are."
First-base umpire Angel Hernandez may play a role with how much Pettitte can control the running game. Hernandez has had a reputation for calling his share of balks during his career. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, Hernandez has called three balks on Pettitte over the years.