After about an inning, this one never really felt like it was in doubt. Even when the pitching ran into trouble an inning later, it still seemed like they'd find a way to tack on more runs. There's probably something to be said about jumping to conclusions really early here, but it was right this time. Still, it's best to avoid doing this.
The offense got rolling almost immediately with Nick Swisher driving home two in the first with a double. Swisher went 2-for-4 with a walk on the night, giving him 14 hits and eight walks in his last 49 plate appearances. A run-scoring double play off the bat of Derek Jeter pushed the lead to three in second inning. Hiroki Kuroda threatened to give the lead back in the bottom half of both innings, but managed to escape without allowing any runs.
Escaping would be a common theme for Kuroda in this start. He wasn't sharp at all tonight, giving up ten hits and walking two in just five-and-a-third innings. Ten hits is bad enough on its own, but when over half of them go for extra bases, its just asking for trouble. Luckily, you don't always get what you ask for. The Blue Jays gave him two earned runs off a Colby Rasmus homer and a groundout, so at least he has something to show for a not so good performance.
For one night, the script of a Kuroda start was flipped. It's usually Kuroda having to be a rock while the offense attempts to scratch out more than two or three runs. Tonight, the hitters were out to make sure no number of extra base hits would be enough for a Jays comeback. Russell Martin, Robinson Cano and Ichiro added two hits each, with Martin contributing a three-run homer. Late in the game, with what seemed to be enough of a lead, Eric Chavez hit a two-run home run to end the scoring at 11.
David Robertson and Rafael Soriano made appearances tonight after David Phelps allowed a couple runs, which was kind of strange considering the score. Then again, it wasn't really all that troubling. For all the discussion of being overworked, Robertson will still end up throwing fewer innings than he did last year, and after allowing a couple baserunners against an anemic offense, clearly still has some things to work on heading towards a potential playoff series. Soriano faced two hitters before recording the final out, the first batters he had faced in a week. Tonight's appearance put him at 64.2 innings on the year, or in different terms, three innings fewer than Jonathan Papelbon. The Yankees' closer has fewer innings than a closer on a non-playoff team. Several non-playoff closers, actually.
Feelings on bullpen usage aside, it's another win, another day alone in first place and another day closer to the playoffs. More games like this would be nice with less than a week left.
Play of the Game: Martin's three-run homer (+17.6%)