Furious 9th Inning Rally Completes 3-Game Sweep

Just one week into the start of the regular season, Jason Giambi was struggling mightily, batting a measly 2-21, with a .147 batting average. Those days now seem like a distant past. Last night with the score tied at 3, Jason Giambi capped a five run 9th inning with a monster three run home run to give the Yanks a 6-3 victory over the White Sox, completing a three game sweep of Chicago.

Behind 3-1 going into the 9th inning and with the bottom of the lineup upcoming, surely no one could write off the Yanks just yet, especially the way their bats have been producing runs as of late. After John Vander Wal grounded out to first, Nick Johnson started the rally by smacking a 3-1 pitch on the outside corner to left field for a stand up double. Next came Alfonso Soriano, who had been 0-4 going into the at bat. Soriano made up for his earlier deficiencies by ripping a line drive past the diving third basemen Jose Valentin, moving Johnson to third.

After Soriano stole second and Jeter walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, Bernie Williams drove the first pitch he received into right field to bring home Johnson and Soriano. That set the stage for Giambi. After looking at two balls, he emphatically swung at the next pitch, and paused for a second while looking at his home run travel into the right field seats, which gave the Yanks the lead for good.

Leading off in the first inning, Giambi evened the score at one with a solo home run. Giambi went 3-5 with two home runs, and four RBIs on the night.

Yankee starter Roger Clemens pitched effectively for the Yanks, striking out 11, but also gave up eight hits and three earned runs. In the first inning, the Sox took an early 1-0 lead with an RBI double by Paul Konerko that scored Maggilo Ordonez. The Sox received their other runs with a sacrifice fly by Royce Clayton that scored Jeff Liefer in the 5th inning, and with a triple by Kenny Lofton that drove home Clayton in the 7th.

White Sox starter Mark Buehrle, searching for his 9th win, shut down the Yanks for seven innings, giving up just one run while striking out seven. But his bid for the win was ruined when he was pulled in the 8th inning for reliever Keith Foulke, as Foulke seemed to tire in the 9th inning when he gave up five runs. The decision to rely on Foulke for six outs to close the game was a questionable one for manager Jerry Manuel, as Foulke is normally a one inning closer, such as Mariano Rivera is for the Yanks.

Rivera closed out the game for the Yanks to earn his 17th save, and Steve Karsay earned his second victory of the season when he relieved Roger Clemens in the 8th inning.

The Yanks travel home to face the Boston Red Sox, whom they trail by one game for first place. David Wells (6-1, 3.92 ERA) squares off against Derek Lowe (7-2, 2.12) Friday night.

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