If, after being stifled by Ricky Romero for seemingly the 80,000th time, you felt like the game was probably over for the Yankees after the Blue Jays’ ace departed with a 4-1 lead after seven strong frames, it’d be hard to disagree with that sentiment, considering the Yankees were 1-18 when trailing after the 8th inning in 2011 (h/t Kim Jones).
However, the Yankees apparently had other ideas. In the bottom of the eighth inning, a Curtis Granderson double, and a two-out Robinson Cano double followed by a Russell Martin (who also hit a solo home run in the second inning) RBI single plated two Yankee runs, bringing the team to within one. With Toronto closer Frank Francisco on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, a Jorge Posada one-out double was plated by a Curtis Granderson single — his fourth hit of the night! — tying the game (with Chris Dickerson pinch-running for Posada), and bringing Mark Teixeira to the plate with a chance for his first-ever regular season walk-off as a Yankee (Mark of course hit the walk-off home run against the Twins in Game 2 of the 2009 ALDS). Granderson stole second on the first pitch, and Tex drove a 3-1 pitch into right off the glove of Juan Rivera, plating Granderson as the game-winning run and securing the Yankees’ 5-4 victory — their second walk-off of the season. Talk about a thrilling, come-from-behind win.
Of course, none of it would have been possible had CC Sabathia not gone into beast mode after a three-run fourth inning that put the Yankees in a 4-1 hole. In fact, after setting Jose Bautista down to end the 4th, CC Sabathia didn’t allow a baserunner for the remainder of the game, retiring the last 16 men he faced. Sabathia wasn’t even hit all that hard in the 4th — after back-to-back hits to start the frame, he got dinked by back-to-back weak-as-hell flares off the bats of Edwin Encarnacion and Rajai Davis, and a botched play at first by Cano on a sac bunt. That’s just straight up bad luck.
It was Sabathia’s — and the Yankees’ — first complete game of the season, and per ESPN Stats & Info, it was the first CG by a Yankee starter of 9+ IP (and Sabathia only needed 103 pitches to get through all nine innings) since May 8, 2009, a span of 341 straight games — apparently the longest such streak in AL history. Now if only they could pick up that elusive first shutout of the season.