Showalter pushes all the right buttons in the 8th, still 1-1

Maybe Buck Showalter figured he was running out of bullets.

But with the first three batters in the bottom of the eighth looking like this ...

Ichiro Suzuki LEFT
Mark Teixeira SWITCH
Robinson Cano LEFT

... it's probably fair to wonder why Showalter left right-handed reliever Luis Ayala on the mound to begin the inning. Ayala's been around for a while, and he's demonstrated a large platoon split: 678 OPS vs. right-handed hitters, 811 vs. left-handed hitters. So perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise when Ichiro singled, and so did Teixeira.

That got Showalter out of the dugout, as he summoned left-hander Brian Matusz to face Canó. And Matusz did retire Canó, but on a ground ball to second base that moved both runners up. Just a measly fly ball to somewhere in the middle of the outfield, and the Yankees would probably grab their first lead of the game.

Ah, but Showalter still had not one, but two secret weapons at his disposal: Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher.

Oh, he also had right-handed sidearmer Darren O'Day. Who struck out Alex Rodriguez and got Nick Swisher on -- one out too late! -- a measly fly ball to right field.

Sorry, we can't resist ...


Here we go again, heading to another ninth inning with the game tied 1-1. And somewhere, Raul Ibañez lurks...

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