(Not too familiar with home plate celebrations eh, Chris? Courtesy of Getty Images)
The Yankees are approaching the AL East-heavy homestretch of the 2013 regular season, and they've built some positive momentum with a 7-3 run over their last 10 games. The lineup is once again MLB-caliber, the starting pitching has been better, and the team returned home this afternoon fresh off a series victory on the road against their biggest rival. This 4-game series against Toronto is critically important if the Yankees intend to stay even remotely close in the Wild Card and they got off the right start in the day half of today's doubleheader with a solid win.
- Ivan Nova struggled with his 2-seamer command out of the gate and got into a ton of trouble in the top of the 2nd. After giving up 2 runs and getting 2 outs, Nova gave up a big 2-run double to Rajai Davis on an 0-2 fastball to make it 4-0 Jays.
- The Yanks got a big chunk of that back in the bottom of the 3rd when Brett Gardner and Ichiro each got on with 1 out, setting the table for a 3-run Robinson Cano home run.
- They took the lead in the bottom of the 6th in a most unexpected way. With 2 outs and Alex Rodriguez on first, Jayson Nix worked a 5-pitch walk against Neil Wagner to bring up Chris Stewart. After getting a look at 3 fastballs, Stewart hit the next one out for his own 3-run homer and a 6-4 Yankee lead.
- Give Nova credit. He wasn't at his best today, and much like his last start he gave up a lot hits and had to work out of trouble with a few big double plays. But he didn't allow any more runs and pitched into the 7th.
- Cano tacked another run on in the 7th with a ribbie double, his 4th hit of the day, and Brett Gardner drove in another with a sac fly in the 8th. Joe tried to get cute with the 4-run lead and go to Joba, but he eventually smartened up and called on Mo to get the final 2 outs after Joba walked Davis.