By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK (SPORTS)- As the MLB regular season nears its conclusion, every game the Yankees play is crucial to their qualifying for the playoffs. The 10 inning, that lasted more than four hours, 8-7, victory over the Twins on Monday night kept the Yanks in first place in the American League East by one game over the Blue Jays. It was only the third win for the Yanks in 10 extra-inning contests this year.
Greg Bird, whose major league debut took place four days before Monday’s contest, led off the bottom of the 10th with a double to right. Catcher Brian McCann was deprived of his 6th RBI of the game as Brid had to hold up at third. Carlos Beltran, who hit a two-run homer in the seventh to tie the score at 7, was intentionally walked. Third sacker Chase Headley grounded to former Yankee Eduardo Nuñez, who had difficulty fielding the ball and then threw it to first allowing Bird to successfully cross the plate for the walk-off win. Bird was obviously, excited to score the winni9ng run in his first game in the Bronx, “It’s a special feeling. I’m not trying to do anything special. I’m just trying to help this team win. It was a team effort today.”
McCann, the veteran catcher, now in his 10th season in the big leagues, performed outstandingly at bat and behind the plate. He smacked a two-out, three run home run in the first. The three tallies gave the yanks a total of 99 runs scored in the first frame this year, more than any team in any inning in the majors this season.
In the third, also with two out, McCann drove in two with a single.
The experienced backstop threw out three of the five Twins’ runners that tried to steal bases. He is only the third catcher in the past 75 years who kno0cked in five runs and threw out three runners in a single game. Despite his individual achievements in the contest, he gave credit to his teammates, “I can’t say enough for those 12-13 guys [pitching staff]. It was team win.”