Rondon steps in after Ramirez's pitch count rises

Rondon steps in after Ramirez's pitch count rises

CHICAGO -- The Yankees had two on and two out in the ninth inning Tuesday night against the Cubs, and manager Rick Renteria didn't want to use Hector Rondon, but he was also concerned about rookie Neil Ramirez's pitch count, which prompted a late switch to get the final out.

The Cubs led 6-1 when Ramirez started the ninth. Ramirez struck out Alfonso Soriano before Yangervis Solarte singled and moved up on Brian Roberts' groundout. But Ramirez couldn't retire pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki, walking him. Renteria said Wednesday if Ramirez hadn't reached 22 pitches, he would've faced Brett Gardner.

"He came out of the game and felt he shouldn't have walked that last batter and should've gotten the out," Renteria said of Ramirez. "We're still mindful of his pitch count."

Rondon, who is the unofficial Cubs closer, walked Gardner to load the bases to load the bases, but got Derek Jeter to ground out and end the game. The right-hander had to do so in a heavy downpour, and there was fear that the umpires would stop the game. How bad was it?

"I couldn't see home plate," Rondon said. "The mound was terrible with the water."

What did he do? He pulled down his cap brim as far as he could and got Jeter out.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.