06-04-2006, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Wang Collects A Save
The closer's role was as foreign to Chien-Ming Wang as his native Taiwan would be to the typical Yankee. But he knew one thing about it.
"You have to have a strong heart," Wang said, putting fist to chest last night, after he was the surprising choice to get the final two outs of the Yankees' 6-5, 10-inning victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
All the Yankees have shown strength of heart in the face of a parade of injuries, illnesses and middle-relief meltdowns.
"I think to really appreciate what this ballclub is doing right now, you have to be in the dugout," manager Joe Torre said, "and just have the feeling that I (sense) of determination and resolve."
Torre, never known for his creativity as a manager, is showing some now. With nine wins in 11 games, the Yankees -- who have collected double-digit hits in 10 straight games for the first time since July 1937 -- are a season-high 12 games over .500 and a half-game ahead of the Red Sox in first place in the American League East.
Four of the Yankees' past five games, and seven of 18, have been decided in the winners' final at-bat. They are 4-1 in extra innings, winning their past four overtime contests.
After the Yankees blew a two-run lead in the eighth inning -- their fourth blown save in the past five games, and seventh in 23 games -- Johnny Damon homered to lead off the top of the 10th.
And someone had to pitch the bottom of the 10th.
With Mariano Rivera (back) and Kyle Farnsworth (needing rest) unavailable, Torre had a four-man bullpen. So the Yankees had Wang hold off on his between-starts side session in case the Yankees needed him in the game.
Lefty specialist Mike Myers retired switch-hitter Brian Roberts to start the 10th. Then came in Wang, who had never been in the closer's role at any level, amateur or pro.
Wang admitted he was a "little bit nervous," and after Melvin Mora grounded out, grounders by Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez got through the right side for single.
Then Wang got Javy Lopez on an easy fly to right to end the game.
"It just gives you an idea how easy Mo makes a manager's decisions," Torre said.
That was a creative move by Torre, I didn't expect that. Wang did a good job!
"Behind every successful woman there is an astonished man." - Four Star General Ann E. Dunwoody
"Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."