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Teixeira's walk-off hit completes comeback

Yankees teammates mob Mark Teixeira after he delivered

Yankees teammates mob Mark Teixeira after he delivered the game-winning single to beat the Blue Jays in the ninth inning. (May 24, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Stadium was rocking, just like it was 2009 again.

The walk-off wins, the home-plate celebrations and A.J. Burnett's whipped-cream pies have almost seemed like forgotten memories. But thanks to four hits from Curtis Granderson and a clutch RBI from Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees celebrated their 5-4 come-from-behind win over Toronto Tuesday night in kidlike fashion.

Despite giving up three runs in the fourth inning, CC Sabathia recovered to pitch his first nine-inning complete game at home for the Yankees. It also was the first nine-inning complete game for a Yankee since Sabathia did it in Baltimore on May 18, 2009, an American League-record 341 games in between, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Sabathia (5-3, 3.17) allowed eight hits and four runs, striking out three and walking one.

Jorge Posada, who started the rally with a one-out, pinch-hit double in the ninth, said the same magic that filled the Stadium two years ago was back last night. "The fans were into it," he said. "They were loud the whole game."

After Brett Gardner grounded out to start the inning, Posada pinch hit for Eduardo Nuñez and doubled to right-center. Pinch runner Chris Dickerson went to third on Derek Jeter's grounder to short for the second out, but Granderson came through, grounding a hard-hit RBI single past diving Blue Jays first baseman Juan Rivera to tie the score at 4. With Teixeira batting, Granderson stole second, then slid home on Teixeira's single that deflected off Rivera's glove and rolled into short rightfield.

Teixeira said he wanted Granderson to take advantage of closer Frank Francisco's slow delivery and steal second. All he wanted for himself was a well-placed single.

"I didn't try to do too much, just hit a line drive and luckily it found a hole," the first baseman said.

But in his eyes, Posada's double was the biggest hit of the night. "That's the at-bat we needed to get us going," Teixeira said.

Posada, who came into the game hitting just .176, joked about his brief appearance, saying, "It was quick. In and out of there." But most of all, he was happy to get a win for Sabathia. "CC did everything possible to keep us in the game," he said.

A few soft hits and well-placed bloopers were all the Blue Jays needed to get the better of Sabathia in the fourth. Nine batters came to the plate in the inning, but the lefthander got slugger Jose Bautista (0-for-4) to ground into a bases-loaded fielder's choice with two outs to end the threat.

"I just tried to throw strikes to all parts of the zone," Sabathia said, "and it worked out tonight."

Sabathia plowed through hitters as if he were trying to single-handedly will his team to victory. He had a 1-2-3 ninth and retired the final 16 Blue Jays he faced.

"We had a lot of come-from- behind wins in '09 and played extremely well here last year," manager Joe Girardi said. "We need to get back to that, so this is a good win for us."

Aside from Russell Martin's solo home run in the second (his ninth of the season), the Yankees put up little fight against Toronto lefty Ricky Romero. The 26-year-old, who had allowed just one earned run in his previous 152/3 innings coming into Tuesday night, didn't have his best stuff. But he gave up just one run and seven hits, struck out four and walked three in seven innings.

The Yankees, however, broke through against the Blue Jays' bullpen. They scored two runs in the eighth on doubles by Granderson and Robinson Cano and Martin's single made it 4-3.


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