The Yankees backup catcher became the hero on Saturday by hitting a decisive home run to take a 4-3 victory against Los Angeles Angels and sets up a fascinating finale.
After the Angels destroyed the Yankees 13-1 on Friday night, manager Joe Girardi decided to shake things up in order to save the three game series. First choice catcher Brain McCann needed to rest his knees so youngster John Ryan Murphy stepped up and produced the goods to give his side their 14th win this season.
The 22-year-old hit his first three RBIs of the season, including a spectacular homer in the fifth, which turned out to be the winning run.
Murphy, who made his debut in MLB last September, has only featured in six games this season as backup to McCann. If the understudy catcher can build on Saturday’s performance, McCann might begin to start sweating about his place in the team.
But Murphy’s feet remained firmly planted to the ground. Speaking to MLB.com he said: “It’s nice to contribute when I’m playing once a week. It’s really fun to help the team win.”
Murphy’s first hit came in the second innings with all bases loaded. Mark Teixeira had just got home after pitcher Hector Santiago was penalised for a balk. Murphy then stepped up and hit a two-run single to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
Girardi was ecstatic for his young catcher and said it was a day Murphy will never forget.
The Angels wrestled the game back to 3-3 in the fourth before Murphy hit the winning solo home run.
The Yankees stadium might have seen the start of a very bright future for the blossoming 22-year-old catcher.
But despite Murphy’s heroics, it is more than likely he will find himself back on the bench and McCann will return to the side when they battle for the series victory on Sunday night.
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