The fourth inning was truly catastrophic for Hughes, who suffered from the terrible combination of an inability to keep his fastball down in the zone, ineffective breaking balls, timely hitting, and an energized Blue Jays lineup eager to avoid a sweep at home. It seemed like everything he threw in the fourth was either rocketed to the outfield or scraped through the infield. First, Moises Sierra singled; catcher Jeff Mathis promptly doubled him home. After a strikeout, a walk and a flyout, Rajai Davis–probably Toronto’s hero on the night–blasted a long double to center, scoring both of them. After Mike McCoy (Hank’s better looking brother), singled in Davis, Encarnacion–finally delivering on his promise this season–blasted a two run shot. 7-0, and it looked pretty much over.
The Jays tacked on a couple more runs before the sixth, bringing the score to 10-1, but the Yankees staged a relatively dramatic comeback. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano (with Nick Swisher aboard) homered to bring the Yankees to 10-4; in the seventh, Granderson lead off with a single, the Casey McGehee–on fire, with an RBI double earlier–smoked a ball to left. And then it was Rajai time: Davis slowly drifted back, never taking his eyes off the ball. It started to fall, and he took a little stutter-step and leapt up against the wall, reaching down. And he came up with the ball as the crowd roared. A fantastic play.
The Yankees still managed to score three runs that inning–on two doubles from Jayson Nix and Derek Jeter, and a line-drive single from Mark Teixeira–but the psychological impact of that catch was hard to quantify. It seemed, to me at least, that it was a game-saving (or at least game-stopping) moment, one that people remember as they walk home. Andruw Jones would ground out with the bases loaded to end the threat, unfortunately, but I kept going back to that home run that wasn’t in my mind.
The Jays blew through the Yankees in the next two innings, despite a couple hard hit balls in the ninth. It just wasn’t to be this afternoon, the classic comeback from nine down was too daunting.
Now, the Yanks will turn their focus to a possible playoff preview with the Rangers, and will have to do a lot of thinking about how best to approach their delicate bullpen situation.
- Derek Jeter is on fire! A homer, a single and an RBI double tonight left him a triple short of the cycle. It’s great to see him swinging so well right now.
- Casey McGehee was relegated to an afterthought, unfortunately, but he has been fantastic the past few games. Great pick up so far for the Yanks.
- Edwin Encarnacion is really good. I mean, we knew that. But, he’s actually played well all year.
- Daren Oliver, the veteran lefty reliever has a sub-2.00 ERA and a sub-.200 batting average against this year. No one is interested in picking him up?
- Cone: “It’s like the fourth of July out here–everything’s ‘bang!’ ‘bang!’ off the bat!”
- I can’t decide if Rajai Davis is really good or just really fast and a bit lucky.