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Last night's game was probably the first must-win game of the season for the Yankees. 3 losses in the last 4 games, offense sputtering again, and nothing of significance gained in the Wild Card race in the last week. They couldn't afford to lock up a series loss to the lowly Blue Jays after sweeping them in the prior series if they wanted to be taken seriously as a Wild Card contender and they had a guy on the mound in Andy Pettitte who's pitched in more big games for this team over the years than anybody in decades. He's no longer the big game Andy of old, at least his recent performance didn't suggest he was, but last night he put a lot of his old tricks on display in holding Toronto down to fuel a comfortably quasi-blowout.
- Before we get to Andy, how about those 1st inning fireworks?? The Yankees started off with a Brett Gardner double and Derek Jeter RBI single to take a lightning quick 1-0 lead, then J.A. Happ hit Robinson Cano in the next at-bat. Cano had to leave the game, and things were tense for a few innings waiting on the diagnosis, but there were no breaks and he's day-to-day with a contusion.
- With 2 on and nobody out after the Cano delay, Alfonso Soriano stepped in and demolished a 3-run home run to left field to make it 4-0. In the first 4 batters of the game Andy had a 4-run cushion.
- That cushion was more than enough for Pettitte last night. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced and he had good life on both his 4-seamer and cutter.
- He put 2 runners on in the 4th and 5th innings, but worked around trouble with a couple of big strikeouts. A pair of inning-ending GB double plays in the 6th and 7th and it was vintage Andy all over the place.
- The offense didn't need more runs, but that didn't stop them for tacking them on with too many home runs. Soriano hit another to lead off the 3rd, Mark Reynolds yoked one to left to start the 6th, and Alex Rodriguez smoked on to center in the 7th.
- Pettitte left after 7 scoreless and Adam Warren handled the final 2 innings. 6 baserunners and 1 run, still rough going for the kid.
- Pettitte: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Andy was working a lot of cutter/4-seamer last night, mixing his offspeed stuff in here and there, and that's when he's most effective these days. When hitters don't have to respect his fastballs they can tee off on his other pitches. He doesn't have the stamina to go 100+ pitches anymore, but when he can give you 7 scoreless in 80-something that's plenty.
- Soriano: 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 K, 1 LOB. Congrats on the 400 career HR, Al. He's hit 11 in 30 games since the trade. Think somebody was excited about coming back to New York?
- Chris Stewart: 0-4, 1 K. The only starter who didn't have a hit last night. More Austin Romine, pleez!
Series finale tonight and the Yanks are looking for a bounce back start from Hiroki Kuroda. He's opposed by someone named Todd Redmond.