(Damn 4th inning'll getcha. Courtesy of The AP)
The Yankees hadn't swept a 3-game series in Toronto since early 2003, which is almost impossible to believe considering what the Yankees have been and what the Blue Jays have been in the time since, but it's true. They had a chance to do it yesterday afternoon with Phil Hughes on the mound against J.A. Happ. It was a matchup that should have heavily favored the Yankees on paper, even with Hughes coming off a short, rough outing in Detroit the last time he pitched. But as they old saying goes, that's why they play the game. There was plenty of offense in this one, just not enough from the Yankees' side to complete the sweep, and not nearly enough good pitching from Hughes.
- Hughes wasted little time in making a mess of things, retiring the first 2 batters in the bottom of the 1st before giving up a 2-out double to Edwin Encarnacion and a follow-up single to somebody named David Cooped to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.
- Derek Jeter led off the game with a single for the Yankees, then Happ retired the next 11 batters he faced in order through the 4th, 12 if you include Jeter on a doube play in the 1st. This game had one of those "let's just get the hell outta here" feels to it.
- That feel was strengthened greatly in the bottom of the 4th, when the Hughes meltdown commenced. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Hughes gave up a 2-run double to Rajai Davis, RBI single to Mike McCoy (???), and a 2-run bomb to Encarnacion to turn it into a 7-0 game.
- Casey McGehee got the Yanks on the board with an RBI double in the top of the 5th, but Ryota Igarashi, in the relieve Hughes after just 4 IP, gave up 3 more runs in the bottom half to balloon the lead to 10-1.
- Give credit to the Yankees for not completely folding their sails here. They tried to battle back with HRs from Jeter and Robinson Cano in the 6th to make it 10-4, and scored 3 more runs in the 7th to pull within 10-7, but that was as close as they would get.
- Props to Davis for a fantastic catch at the wall on McGehee for the first out of the 7th. If that goes over the wall, the Yanks really take the momentum there.
- Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada, and Joba Chamberlain finished the game off from the 'pen to at least ensure that Joe wouldn't have to use David Phelps, and the Yanks will have to wait until next time to try for that sweep.
- Jeter: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Look at The Captain, still sitting .318/.359/.422 in the middle of August. GB rate and all, you have to be impressed with what he's done this season.
- Cano: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HBP. Why Joe keeps giving him DH days, I don't know, but Cano responded with a 2-run HR yesterday. Would have been interesting to see what Cano could have done with runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 7th had he not got plunked.
- Hughes: 4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, L. Phil's never one to shy away from blame and he wasn't yesterday when he said that he "personally gave the game away." It was fastball problems that hurt Hughes again, as he caught too much of the plate with too many of them. It didn't look like there were a lot of changeups out there again, so maybe he needs to go back to mixing that into his pitch selection more to keep guys off the 4-seamer.
- Russell Martin: 0-4, 1 K, 2 LOB. The only starter to not get a hit yesterday. Every time he looks like he's climbing out of his funk, he has a game like this. Still under .200 on the season and not the newest member of the Sh*t List for no reason.
Back to the Bronx starting tonight with the Rangers coming to town. Josh Hamilton is starting to heat up again, and that could be bad news for Yankee pitching in this stadium. Phelps gets the start tonight in CC's place, and we'll see how many pitches Joe lets him throw. He'll be opposed by deadline addition Ryan Dempster.