This post almost turned into a frustrated rant. Phil Hughes was awful, allowing eight hits and five runs in just 4.2 innings of work. And the Yankee offense came out of the gate slow. The Blue Jays entered the sixth inning with a five to one lead and it looked like the Yankees were going to fall a game behind the Orioles. Then, the Bombers came back.
The Yankees plated one in the sixth and three in the seventh to tie the game. They took the lead for good in the eighth inning on an Eduardo Nunez sacrifice. The biggest offensive star of the game was Robinson Cano who went three for five with two doubles and a push bunt to the third base side while the Jays were shifting. (Mark Teixeira, were you watching?) Robbie scored two runs and knocked in another. The Yankees also got a big assist from the Toronto pitchers who threw two wild pitches that led to runs scoring, including the tying run in the seventh inning, a play that also featured some heads up base running from Alex Rodriguez.
The most satisfying part of the come back is that it didn’t rely on the home run. Don’t get me wrong, I love homers. They count as hits too, something many baseball commentators forget when they analyze the Yankees. But homers will be scarce in the playoffs so it was encouraging to see the Yankees score runs on a series of singles, sacrifice flies … and wild pitches.
After taking the six to five lead the Yankees added some insurance runs. Derek Jeter knocked Brett Gardner in on a single to make it seven to five and the Yankees added two more runs in the ninth on Curtis Granderson‘s two RBI single. The nine to five lead was more than enough for Rafael Soriano, who was a bit shaky, but had too much of a lead for it to matter.
Today’s game is a bit of an empty victory. I’d happily trade it for a less exciting game and a Yankee win on Saturday. Once masters of their own destiny, the Yankees remain tied for first place with Baltimore. Neither team has it easy as they wrap up the regular season. The Red Sox will come to town to face the Yankees. I’m sure Bobby Valentine and the gang want nothing more than to spoil the Yankees season. Baltimore, meanwhile, heads to Tampa Bay where the Rays will be playing for their lives. High tension baseball and it’s not even the playoffs!