NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees connects on a walk-off home run in the tenth-inning against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Athletics 2-1 in 10 innings. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The Yankees celebrated their second walk off victory of the season, and each time the deciding blow was a home run by Russell Martin. The catcher's 10th inning game winner helped salvage an outstanding effort by C.C. Sabathia, whose game score of 85 was the second highest recorded by a Yankee pitcher this year as well as the lefty's best mark since July 10, 2011. Sabathia's 11 strikeouts were also the fifth time he reached double digits in that category, the second highest season total of his career.
The Bronx Bombers' victory not only helped the team stay one game ahead of the Orioles, who beat the Red Sox 4-2, but also gave them a 4-3 edge in the season series against Oakland. Should the Yankees and Athletics end the season tied for the wild card, the head-to-head record between the two teams would decide home field advantage.
In 1992, Yankees were coming off a franchise-high fourth straight losing season, while the Pirates were riding three consecutive division titles. Since then, the two franchises have gone in completely different directions. With 87 victories, the Yankees have already clinched their 20th consecutive winning season, while the Pirates, who fell two games below .500 with a loss to the lowly Astros, are now poised to record their 20th straight losing campaign.
Mark Teixeira is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in Tampa on Monday, but beyond that, the time table for his return to the lineup remains uncertain. With only 13 games remaining, if Teixeira's rehab doesn't go well, the Yankees could be facing the possibility of being without the switch hitting slugger during the playoffs.
Does Rafael Soriano have a dead arm? After watching his closer blow only his fourth save of the season, Joe Girardi suggested that Soriano's recent workload might be the culprit. Whether true or not, Soriano, who recently became the fourth Yankee reliever to record 40 saves (joining Dave Righetti, John Wettleland, and Mariano Rivera), wasn't looking for an excuse.