A lot of that derives from not getting consistent at-bats over the past month. Coming into Game 5, Gardner had just five at-bats in the 28 days since the end of the regular season."That's part of the game and something I have to deal with," Gardner said. "It's obviously not the easiest thing in the world, but I should have been more aggressive tonight. It's something I can learn from." Of course, it doesn't help that those at-bats are coming against Cliff Lee, who entered the game with the best ERA in postseason history for a pitcher with as many as 30 innings. In his three at-bats against Lee, Gardner quickly found himself in two-strike counts and on the defensive. Fellow outfielder Johnny Damon expects Gardner to be back in rhythm at the plate by Game 6. "Hopefully, Brett's got a taste for what at-bats in the World Series are like now, and he'll be better," Damon said. "It just seems like his timing is a little off." It was certainly bad timing for the injury to Cabrera, who was 8-for-23 with four RBIs in the Yankees' past seven postseason games. Filling in for a hot hitter motivates Gardner even more to help bring a World Series trophy back to the Bronx. "I hate that for [Cabrera] and for our team, because he's a big part of the team, and for it to happen here [in the Series], that's not what anybody hopes for," Gardner said. "I'll do what I can to try and fill in for him and contribute."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.