This game against Toronto will be easier to recap sequentially because it was the Yankees game from the start.
Brett Gardner’s double set him up to score on Derek Jeter’s single, and it was quickly 1-0. Then, Robinson Cano took a 90 mph fastball to his left hand. The pain and agony were brutal to watch, and all of Yankee-land held its breath and had the same thought: “Please, God, not again!” He took his base, still in pain, and was insistent on seeing if it would just get better with time. It turns out that he didn’t have that much time to think about it because Alfonso Soriano promptly pounded a long 3-run home run into his sweet spot (left field seats). At by the end of the inning, it was 4-0 Yankees.
Between innings, Cano took off with the trainer for the hospital. Apparently Rogers’ Centre doesn’t have an x-ray machine on property, so while it looked like a really nasty bruise, they sent the infielder to the hospital as a “just in case”. And with the Yankees’ luck this season, there is no such thing as “too careful”.
Anyway, tonight’s starter was Andy Pettitte. He has struggled some this year and came into the game with a .500 average in his win-loss ratio, so a win today was completely on his agenda. And now, looking at the possible loss of Cano, Pettitte had extra reason to make a huge push for something amazing. So he went to work. And he was really amazing for 7 full innings with just 86 pitches. He only allowed 5 hits and 2 walks, struck out 3 batters, and kept the Blue Jays from crossing home plate.
Pettitte was backed by the absolute stellar defense that continues to keep the Yankees in the postseason race (even if the possibilities are slim at this point). When a long single to center field, Gardner took the chance and threw out the runner at home — strength and accuracy on display. At the bottom of the 1st, Pettitte himself caught the comebacker, catching it on his back, but making the play. And really, there was just some great defense all over the place, but that’s becoming the usual play for the Yankees.
What isn’t as usual (or perhaps reminiscent of old times) is why they are called the Bronx Bombers, something they suddenly remembered tonight. Beginning with Soriano’s 3-run blast in the 1st inning, the Yankees went on a tear. When Soriano stepped up for his second at-bat, he promptly hit his 400th career home run to left field. Then to lead off the 6th inning, it’s Mark Reynolds’ turn to hit a solo home run into the Blue Jays’ bullpen. And it’s Alex Rodriguez to cap off the show in the 7th inning with his own solo home run, and the Yankees were up 7-0 at that point.
So into the 8th inning, the Yankees send in Adam Warren to finish what Pettitte started. But Warren got off to a rough start. A single, a single and an out (the ball hit the runner), and a double to score the only run for the Blue Jays tonight. But then it was Eduardo Nunez on the ground in pain. He had come in for Cano at 2nd in the 1st inning and was really playing decent ball on that side of the infield. But he apparently caught his cleat in the turf and twisted his knee going after the ball hit for a double. Checking him out for a bit, he seemed like a small injury and stayed in the game. When Nunez singled in the 9th, they opted for Lyle Overbay to pinch-run, something that wasn’t needed in the end. So in the bottom of the 9th, Overbay went to 1st and Reynolds moved over to 2nd.
When the game ended in a sweet double play, the score was 7-1. Cano’s x-rays were negative, and he is on day-to-day and will rest tomorrow’s game. Nunez’s knee is a little “tweaked” but fine and hopes to play tomorrow. Soriano’s reached yet another milestone in pinstripes (or travel greys today). And the Bombers are back to hitting bombs behind a strong Pettitte start.
I’m telling you this — the dome does crazy things to people. I am not a fan. But I am a fan of my New York Yankees who continue to persevere through all odds and all possible injury attacks and potential craziness.