The New York Yankees are finally looking like the New York Yankees.
On the day that Ichiro Suzuki picked up the 4000th hit of his professional career, the Yankees pitching duo of Adam Warren and David Huff out-dueled 2012 NL Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey (yes, you read that correctly) as the Yankees won their fourth consecutive game. The Yankees have won nine of eleven and 10 of 13 dating back to the day Alex Rodriguez made his 2013 Yankee Stadium debut.
Rodriguez had the night off tonight, but the Yankees got just enough offense and brilliant pitching out of unlikely sources, to say the least. Adam Warren got the spot start coming out of the double header, and honestly looked pretty good. Actually no, he wasn't that good, but I guess when you've been watching Phil Hughes this season it lowers your standards a bit. To Warren's credit, he got through the 3+ innings he was supposed to get through while limiting the Jays to two runs. And with this new Yankees offense, that is not insurmountable by any stretch.
The Blue Jays scored first in the top of the second. Warren got the first two outs of the inning before giving up a single to Anthony Gose. Gose proceeded to steal second and then score on a single to right by Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki really isn't that good at baseball, but he did this once so I like him.
The Yankees answered in the bottom of the inning, as Eduardo Nunez singled and later moved to second and then to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch, respectively. After a strikeout of Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix reached first after getting hit by a pitch on the hand. This is also likely the last time that Nix will reach first base this season, as the HBP left him with a fractured hand. Sucks for him, and just another injury for the 2013 Yankees. See you next season, Nixy (and yes, we know he'll be here).
Mark Reynolds pinch ran for Nix at first and the Yankees had first and third with one out and Austin Romine at the plate. Austin Romine actually looks like a major league hitter right now. I don't know how long that's going to last but I'm going to enjoy it while it does. After going 3-3 last night, Romine stepped up and was a few feet away from hitting a three run home run. Instead, Kevin Pillar made a nice catch at the wall in left field and he'd have to settle for a sac fly.
The Yankees scored again in the bottom of the third to take the lead. With one out, Robinson Cano doubled to right. After Alfonso Soriano struck out, Curtis Granderson singled in Cano to make it 2-1 New York. Eduardo Nunez struck out to end the inning.
The Blue Jays got it right back at first opportunity as Warren gave up a home run to Josh Thole. Yes, Josh Thole. I don't know how that happened either. After the home run, Kevin Pillar got hit by a pitch (retaliation for Nix!), and that was it for Adam Warren. Enter David Huff.
David Huff is a man who has a career 5.41 ERA, and opponents have hit nearly .300 off of him. He's spent most of the year in the minor leagues, and in his brief stint in the majors this year he came in with an ERA over 12. So I think it's fair to say that not a lot of people would expect David Huff to come in and throw five shutout innings. Well, you can't predict baseball right? Because that's exactly what happened.
Huff relieved Adam Warren in the top of the fourth and stranded Pillar at first base. He then proceeded to throw four more shutout innings, pitching through the eighth and holding the Blue Jays to two runs. He walked a few guys, but he allowed just one hit and this was by far his best performance of the season in a game the Yankees had to have. Wins/Loss is generally a very poor way to measure a pitcher's success, but David Huff absolutely earned the win tonight.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Dickey also managed to keep them at two until the bottom of the eighth. He started the eighth by striking out Brett Gardner and getting Ichiro to pop out. Cano then picked up his second hit of the night, which brought up Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano, as everyone knows, was playing at an other-worldly level a week ago. Then he suddenly stopped and had been 0 for his last 17. So, as Joe Girardi said, he was "due" in a sense. Soriano launched a hanging knuckleball (is that the right term for that?) into the left field seats with two outs in the eighth to give the Yankees the 4-2 lead. Dickey struck out Granderson to end the inning, and wound up with the complete game loss.
Mariano Rivera came on to finish it off in the ninth. He struck out Mark DeRosa before allowing a double to Rajai Davis. Mo then picked off Davis at second and struck out Edwin Encarnacion to end the game.
- Ichiro Suzuki picked up the 4000th hit of his professional career in the bottom of the first inning tonight. His Yankee teammates came out to congratulate him and then he bowed to the crowd. The 4000 hits are from his days in Japan, with the Seattle Mariners, and with the Yankees. Congrats to Ichiro!
- As mentioned above, Jayson Nix fractured his left hand after getting hit by a knuckleball from R.A. Dickey. The injuries just keep coming. After being the hero of last night's game it's hard not to feel sorry for Nix, who has done whatever has been asked of him all year long while having to fill in for other player's various injuries. Girardi said the Yankees will not activate Derek Jeter early to replace Nix on the roster, so look for either David Adams or Alberto Gonzalez to be recalled to replace Nix.
- Don't look now, but the Yankees are kind of in this thing. They are four out in the loss column for the second wild card after the A's lost this afternoon, and with so many games left with division rivals the AL East is not completely out of reach. Still with no margain for error, every game is very important.
More from Pinstriped Bible:
- Jayson Nix leaves game with broken left hand
- Yankees lineup vs. Blue Jays; Yankees scouting Masahiro Tanaka in Japan
- Pinstripe Alley Top 100 Yankees: #93 Birdie Cree
- Dodgers reportedly unlikely to pursue Robinson Cano as a free agent
- Yankees prospects: Gary Sanchez off to a hot start with the Thunder