How’s this for interesting? Earlier this year, J.P. Arencibia of the Toronto Blue Jays said that the Yankees hit cheap homers. I know, it’s so shocking that an opposing player would complain about Yankee Stadium’s dimensions. That never happens. Anyway, tonight both the Yankees and Arencibia hit important home runs that may have had playoff implications.
The Blue Jays had a doubleheader against the Orioles today and dropped the first game which put Baltimore only a half game behind the Yankees in the standings.
If the Yankees were to lose tonight’s game they would fall out of the first place for the first time in 98 days.
So with Toronto clinging to a one-run lead in the seventh inning, they loaded the bases. Arencibia came up with two outs and belted a 2-1 pitch into the left field seats in Camden Yards. That blast gave Toronto a 9-4 lead. A lead they didn’t relinquish even though it seemed like they were really trying to – the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. But luckily for Yankee fans who had one eye on the game in Baltimore, there would be no Oriole “magic” tonight. They were only able to score one run and the Jays were able to hold on to win the game.
The guys who only hit cheap home runs according to Mr. Arencibia hit all of their homers in Target Field of all places and guess what? None of them were cheap.
In fact, the first of those home runs – hit by Nick Swisher in the first inning – was an absolute bomb. Swisher’s was the only non-solo home run of the night for the Yanks. Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez and Curtis Granderson all went yard, leading the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Twins. Granderson’s was his 40th of the season.
The other big story of the game Andy Pettitte. He was on a pitch limit again – this time 85-90 – and just like he did against the Blue Jays this past Wednesday, he didn’t give up any runs and exited the game without going over that pitch limit – he threw 88 pitches tonight.
Pettitte gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out three. He also was able to wiggle out of trouble a few times with timely double plays.
He has now pitched 11 scoreless innings since returning from his ankle injury.
So thanks in part to J.P. Arencibia’s grand slam, the Yankees are now 1 and 1/2 games up on the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East standings.
- Granderson joined some great company when he hit his 40th home run. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Jason Giambi are the only other Yankees in history to have consecutive 40-homer seasons.
- He becomes the 6th player with multiple 40-HR seasons for Yankees (Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Alex Rodriguez, Giambi).
- From ESPN Stats and Info: Derek Jeter‘s 18-game hitting streak is his longest since a 20-gamer and a 19-gamer – both in 2007.
- The magic number for the AL East (NYY wins/BAL losses) is 8. The magic number for a playoff berth (NYY wins/LAA losses) is 5.