“We’re going to file an incident report, and all that,” umpire Jeff Kellogg told MLB.com. “The protest is over the pitcher should have been removed from the game, or the pitch should not have counted. That’s the protest. Either or. One or the other should have happened.
“It goes to the league, and they will review everything. They will make a determination after that.”
The Yankees started the game with ace lefty CC Sabathia. However, after a shaky first inning when he surrendered a run, catcher Jorge Posada insisted to Girardi and trainer Gene Monaghan that something was wrong with Sabathia.
On a second visit to the mound, after Sabathia had surrendered a one-out double to Brett Carroll, he finally admitted to Girardi that he had some tightness in his left bicep. After the game, Sabathia said it was not serious and he intended to make his next start. The Yankees said he will be reevaluated on Tuesday.
The early call to the bullpen, however, forced Girardi to play a game of musical relievers to make up for the loss of Sabathia and the innings he had been giving the Yankees. Fortunately, Alfredo Aceves was up to the task. He kept the Marlins bats quiet for 2 2/3 innings. He gave up only a harmless single and struck out two.
That allowed the Yankees offense to get cooking in the 95-degree, 104 heat index day at Land Shark Stadium.
After two outs in the third inning, Jeter singled off 22-year-old righty Chris Volstad. A wild pitch got him to second and Volstad then walked Nick Swisher. Jeter then stole third. Mark Teixeira then pounded a high ground ball over the head of first baseman Jorge Cantu for a double that scored Jeter easily.
Alex Rodriguez, back in the starting Yankee lineup after being given two days to overcome what he called “fatigue,” then fought off an inside fastball for a bloop single to left that scored Swisher and Teixeira to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
But Girardi elected to replace Aceves with Brett Tomko in the fifth inning and Tomko promptly coughed up the lead by giving up a one-out single to Coghlan and two-out home run to All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, his ninth homer of the season.
Tomko then surrendered another run in the sixth inning on a two-out home run by Cody Ross, his 12th of the season, making the score 4-3 Marlins.
“I’ve been a bit of a wreck the last three or four times out,” Tomko said to MLB.com. “It just seems like when I make a mistake, it’s getting hit. It’s a frustrating thing.”
The Yankees, meanwhile, allowed Volstad to recover. After Brett Gardner’s single in the fourth inning, the Yankees did not get a hit or put a runner on base until their were two out in the ninth inning — a run of 15 consecutive outs and only two balls even left the infield.
The Marlins added to their lead in the seventh inning on a single by Jorge Cantu that brought in Coghlan. Ramirez scored from first on the same play when Melky Cabrera’s throw from left field skipped past Posada for an error. The Marlins now lead 6-3.
But, just when it seemed the Yankees would become Fish food for the second game in a row, Posada sent a 1-1 pitch off closer Matt Lindstrom just past a diving Cantu into rightfield for a single. Cabrera followed with a single up the middle that just eluded second baseman Dan Uggla.
Gardner then brought the Yankees to within one run on a single swing — a ringing triple to deep center to score Posada and Cabrera. Lindstrom, obviously laboring and having control problems, then walked pinch-hitter Johnny Damon.
But Lindtsrom induced Derek Jeter into hitting a weak grounder to short on the first pitch and Yankees threat was quashed.
Volstad (5-7), yet another young starter the Yankees have never faced in a regular season game, got the victory. Tomko (0-2) very much earned the loss. Lindstrom picked up his 14th save, though he did put some doubt into the contest.
Will the victory hold up, however? If Major League Baseball sides with Girardi’s protest, the Yankees would have to return to Miami at a date to be determined and the game would resume in the top of the eighth inning with the Marlins leading 6-3.
“I’d like to keep the two runs I got in the ninth and just play the eighth over,” Giradi said to MLB.com.
The Yankees have today to lick their wounds in Atlanta awaiting their three-game series with the Braves. The Yankees will send Chien-Ming Wang (0-5, 12.30 ERA) to the mound and the Braves will counter with rookie phenom Tommy Hanson (2-0, 4.08 ERA), yet another pitcher the Yankees have not faced.
The Yankees have now lost six of the past eight games in which they have faced a starter they have never seen during the regular season. That hardly inspires much confidence for the Yankees on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the Yankees have fallen to four games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East standings. Toronto is just one game back of the Yankees and the Rays have climbed to within two games.
So a win Tuesday may be a necessity. Gametime is 7:05 p.m. EDT.