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Gaudin goes a solid six-plus innings

New York Yankees pitcher Chad Gaudin delivers the

New York Yankees pitcher Chad Gaudin delivers the ball to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Chad Gaudin sauntered off the mound after picking off Carl Crawford (the majors' second-leading base-stealer) to end the sixth inning. His demeanor was the same after allowing a solo shot to Evan Longoria in the seventh.

Apparently, playing for six different teams in seven seasons, and surgery to remove part of a right big toe keeps a man on an even keel.

Gaudin, auditioning for a spot on the Yankees' postseason roster, pitched six-plus solid innings (his longest outing since July 21 with San Diego) last night, but took a no-decision because of Jason Bartlett's eighth-inning homer off Phil Hughes. It was the first homer Hughes had allowed since June 10 in Boston.

Manager Joe Girardi said of Gaudin's outing: "His changeup had a lot of bite and he attacked the zone. Just a great job overall."

Gaudin threw 76 pitches (51 for strikes), but tired in the seventh. He allowed a leadoff homer to Longoria on an 0-and-2 fastball and a single to Ben Zobrist before a walk to Pat Burrell ended his night. Damaso Marte, Brian Bruney and Phil Coke each pitched a third of an inning to end the rally.

The 26-year old Gaudin's strong start, in which he struck out six batters, may give him the upper hand for the long-reliever role in the postseason. Sergio Mitre is also a contender for the job, but his 11 runs allowed (nine earned) Sunday in Toronto didn't instill much confidence in the Yankees' brass.

Gaudin, a New Orleans native, not only showed guts last night, but guile, as he made two nifty catches off the mound. In the fifth, Gaudin snagged Gabe Gross' hot-shot liner on his glove side and doubled off Chris Richard.

When he picked off Crawford to end the sixth, it was the third straight inning that ended with a double play. Posada caught Zobrist stealing on a 3-and-2 pitch as Burrell struck out to end the fourth. Posada has caught 29 of 100 would-be base stealers this season.

Tampa Bay starter David Price, who has struggled this season after coming on like gangbusters in last year's playoffs, pitched six strong innings. But Price left the game behind 2-0 after allowing a solo shot to Nick Swisher on a 2-and-0 fastball in the second (his 15th allowed this season) and an RBI single to Alex Rodriguez in the sixth.

Swisher's two home runs on the night were just the fourth and fifth he's hit at home this season (he has 24 on the road). His first landed in the second deck in left, and the second scooted just over the wall over the scoreboard in right-center.

New York Sports