It’s raining now in the City, but it certainly was bright and sunny and a near-perfect afternoon in the Bronx for game time. And today was rather a reflection of all the good things about the Yankees this year — a celebration no one saw coming and very nice shut-out win. The Yankees avoided the weekend sweep and kept the Blue Jays within reach for the postseason.
Masahiro Tanaka got the start for the Yankees today and just proved to all those naysayers last year that he was going to be okay. Well, better than okay — phenomenal is more like it. He threw 108 pitches through 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, and striking out 7 Toronto batters. No walks and no runs on Tanaka’s watch. And that was a great pattern to set for his relievers. Dellin Betances had a quick 11-pitch, 3 strikeouts 8th inning. Then James Pazos and Caleb Cotham split the 9th for a combined 9 pitches for the 3 outs. Just absolutely stellar pitching today from the Yankees.
Not that the Blue Jays were all that terrible themselves in the pitching area, but the Yankees pitchers just weren’t letting the big power-hitters do much of anything today. The Blue Jays starter threw into the 8th inning, but the Yankees dinged him up a bit in the process. In the 2nd, the bases were loaded with 2 walks and a single, and no outs. Dustin Ackley’s sacrifice fly scored McCann, and Didi Gregorius’ sac fly scored Alex Rodriguez. That got the Yankees on the board and in the lead to give Tanaka something to work with through the afternoon.
Then in the 4th, with 2 outs, Headley singled and then scored on Ackley’s 2-run home run. And on into the 8th inning, the Yankees wanted just one more run. So Beltran singled and was then pinch-run by Noel, and with 2 outs on the board, Rodriguez doubled and scored Noel from 1st. That was the last straw for the Blue Jays’ starter, and his replacement stranded Rodriguez at 2nd on the next batters, but it didn’t matter. The Yankees came into today’s game strong and dominant, like the Yankees have been most of the season.
Welcome back, boys.
Final score in the Bronx: 5-0 Yankees, Blue Jays win the series 3-1 (of course).
Before today’s game, the Yankees honored Alex Rodriguez for his 3,000th hit. Rodriguez hit a big home run in the game against the Tigers back on June 19. It was his 3,000th career hit. Rodriguez was called on the field for the ceremony, accompanied by his two daughters, his mother, his brother, and his sister. Rodriguez’s first managers Lou Piniella sent a video message from Steinbrenner Field that they played on the big board over center field, before the Yankees gifted him with a glass award to commemorate the achievement. Hal Steinbrenner presented him with a customized ring, plus pendants for Ella and Natasha that match their dad’s ring.
This is a day that very few people ever saw coming, especially last year. But a career achievement such as this deserves to be remembered and honored, especially as Rodriguez is a very valued member of the Yankees organization and doing so well on this comeback year of his.