Going 3-3 against teams the caliber of the Twins and Blue Jays is never a good thing. Doing it down the stretch of a stressful regular season in which you're tied for the division lead is even worse. And losing the 3 games in the fashion the Yankees did this week is infinitely worse than that. After having Joe take one from them earlier in the week and then just flat not showing up in the first game of this series on Thursday night, the Yankees went out and put together a truly inept 9 innings of baseball on Saturday to lose control of their own destiny over these final 4 games. They essentially had to play yesterday like a one-game playoff, with Phil Hughes on the mound, to even give themselves a chance of regaining control. Hughes didn't give nearly the start they were looking for, but a late offensive outburst bailed him out and salvaged the series.
- Hughes was bad right from the start yesterday, showing spotty command of his fastball and the slutter, and he gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st to put the Yankees in an early hole.
- Eric Chavez, getting the start at DH after swinging a hot bat lately, made that decision look smart with a solo HR in the top of the 3rd to pull the Yankees within 1.
- After scuffling through the bottom of the 2nd, Hughes seemed to find himself and worked the 3rd and 4th innings in order. But it all came crashing down in the 5th, when Hughes gave up a 2-run homer to Brett Lawrie to make it 4-1 and then 3 straight hits with 2 outs to make it 5-1. He didn't make it out of the 5th inning and didn't his team much of a chance to win. Not a good last start.
- The offense was painfully quiet outside of the Chavez HR through 5, but with their backs against the wall heading to the 6th they finally woke up. Robinson Cano got things started with a leadoff double and came around to score on a wild pitch, and it was on from there.
- They tacked on 3 in the 7th on 3 hits, a walk, and another wild pitch, forcing 3 pitching changes from Toronto in the inning. Robinson Cano had another double to score a run, and Derek Jeter also had a big hit.
- Jeter drove in a run with a single in a 2-run 8th, and Curtis Granderson came up with a big 2-run single in the 9th, and the Yankees had turned a 5-1 deficit into a 9-5 lead with 4 straight scoring innings. It's the type of consistent offensive pressure that's been missing for far too long this season.
- Kudos to Derek Lowe for getting 5 big outs in relief of Hughes, and to Boone Logan and David Robertson for turning in solid performances to keep the Jays offense at bay.
- The Orioles won too, so the Yankees still don't control their own destiny. But if they can come out and keep winning starting tomorrow they can keep giving themselves chances to reclaim it. Either way they are guaranteed a wild card spot with the way the rest of the Saturday AL slate went down, so that's a positive.
- Cano: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 LOB. He was right in the middle of the action again, only this time he got some help from the guys around him to keep innings going.
- Jeter: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K. A very Captain-like night from The Captain. Big double to set up the big 7th inning, and a big 2-out RBI single for an insurance run in the 8th.
- Russell Martin: 0-4, 3 K, 4 LOB. Guh.
- Hughes: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Hughes has answered the call in big games a couple times this year, but in a game where the ideal scenario would have been 7 from him, D-Rob, Soriano, Hughes just didn't have it yesterday. The velocity was there, so he wasn't tired, but he couldn't locate his fastball and the Jays really made him work. No telling when he'll get his next chance to redeem himself.
The Yankees looked like they were fixing to go down quietly again after it became a 5-1 game, so to see them sack up and start to hit was a very positive and very unexpected surprise. They maintain a tie for the division lead and head home to wrap up the regular season against the DOA Fraud Sawx.
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