“I saw it go to the right of the pole,” right field umpire Fieldin Culbreth said in a statement issued after the game. “There is no netting there and it didn’t touch the netting. It did not change direction.”
“We saw the same thing on the replay,” crew chief Brian Gorman said in the same statement. “There was no evidence to overturn the decision.”
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Jeter drew a one-out walk and scored on a double off the wall in right center field by Ichiro Suzuki. New York went up 3-0 in the seventh on a solo homer by Curtis Granderson off Orioles reliever Troy Patton.
By the series standards, that was a commanding lead, particularly with Sabathia rolling into the eighth: The teams, after all, combined for only 26 runs over five games after ending the regular season as the top two home-run hitting teams in the major leagues.
Rodriguez is fifth on the all-time homer list but was pulled for a pinch hitter in Games 3 and 4 and eventually dropped from the lineup Friday. He was 2 for 16 in the series, including 0 for 12 against right-handers, with nine strikeouts. Eric Chavez took Rodriguez’s spot at third base.
The Orioles, after 14 consecutive losing seasons, stayed within two games of the Yankees in the AL East during the final 32 games of the regular season and matched the perennial playoff qualifiers almost pitch for pitch in the best-of-five divisional series.
“It was weird because the farther and farther we got, the deeper into the season, it was surprising to other people that we were in the position we were in, but I don’t think we were surprised,” said McLouth, who hit safely in every game in the divisional series. “Once you start expecting to win, I think that’s a good frame of mind to be in.”
“We’ve awoken generations, I think, back in Baltimore,” Jones said. “We’ve brought them back to the ballpark. Now we just have to maintain it.”