Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson congratulates left fielder Brett Gardner...

Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson congratulates left fielder Brett Gardner after making a catch on a Luke Scott line drive during the eighth inning. (April 24, 2011) Credit: AP

BALTIMORE -- Joe Girardi didn't think Brett Gardner had a chance at the ball. Gardner wasn't too sure either.

With the Yankees leading by a run, Orioles on first and third and two outs in the eighth inning Sunday, lefthanded-hitting Luke Scott lined Mariano Rivera's first pitch to him to leftfield.

Playing shallow, Gardner didn't seem as if he'd get there, but he raced straight back, and at the last moment, he snared it to prevent two runs from scoring and temporarily preserve the lead.

Did Girardi think Gardner would get to it? "I didn't, I really didn't," he said. "It's a game-saving play is what it is. He has a lot of speed and he's played leftfield really well for us after making the adjustment last year."

With Rivera on the mound and a lefthanded hitter at the plate, Gardner had been playing in, his usual alignment, which was why he had to cover so much ground. "He got the barrel on it and I was fortunate enough to get back to it," Gardner said. "I wasn't sure whether I was going to get to it or not."

Gardner, who is hitting .140, said he was particularly pleased to make that kind of play on a day when he went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. "That's something I can bring to the table every day,'' he said, "even when I'm struggling at the plate."

 

Jeter passes Robinson

Derek Jeter had four hits, including infield singles in the 10th and 11th, and moved past Frank Robinson into 31st place on the all-time hit list. He has 2,945 hits. "Any time you mention someone like Frank Robinson, I have the utmost respect for him and what he did in his career, so it's hard to believe," said Jeter, whose second-inning double was his second extra-base hit of the season.

 

Montero leaves game

Jesus Montero left Sunday's Scranton/Wilkes-Barre game after getting hit with a pitch below the belt in the fourth inning. He told a Scranton Times-Tribune reporter that he still felt pain, both in his stomach area and where he took the pitch, and likely will be out a couple of days. He reportedly was able to smile, though painfully, about the incident.

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