There wasn't enough time to create commemorative patches, but the Yankees didn't need a decal to remind them who they were playing this game for. In an 8-4 win over the Blue Jays, the surging Bombers gained another game on the Red Sox, but lost a legend. Bryan Cody Ransom was DFA-ed today, and it was obvious that New York went out determined to win this one for him.
It was a true exercise in comraderie and cooperation today, as the Yankees rallied behind the hapless Sergio Mitre. (I really feel like there must be some of Joker/Private Pyle-esque relationship between him and Derek Jeter. Like, the captain tries to support him and be an ally, but eventually the failure to keep balls down becomes too much for everyone to bear.) But today the Private Pyle of the Yankees found his rifle in the form of a highly effective sinkerball.
Mitre's line score looks worse than he pitched: 4.1 innings, 8 hits, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 2 walks, 3 runs. Eh. Since I'm on the last day of Sterling-Waldman radio spectatorship, I had to watch the highlights reels to see how surprisingly sharp his pitches were looking. As for the Jays' young gun, he started out assuredly, but was tagged with the loss after giving up 4 runs in 6 IP.
The Yanks even managed one long ball off the guy, bringing his career ding count to 2. He's another guy who probably played better than he'll be remembered for. 7 Ks, 5 hits, 1 walk is nothing to sneeze at, if sneezing at things is the mark of poor play.
What listening to the radio DOES give me access to is the deafening cries of the Roger Centre, Sterling's manic bellowing, and the resolute noise of bat-cracking. I heard a lot of that, which is the logical output of a game where all but 2 on Toronto's lineup puts down a hit. (Awkward, Rod Barajas and Aaron Hill.)
But the Yanks must have seen this coming, because their defense was extraordinary. Their offense, while not as evenly distributed as the Jays', still matched the Jays tit for tat (bit for bat? Sorry.) Johnny Damon continued to explode at the plate going 3 for 5 with his 2nd HR in as many days. Ditto for Nick Swisher's very refreshing performance of late.
The encouraging leadership and effort kept the Yanks in this one, and it really was a game for the little guys. Alfredo Aceves was credited with the win, and maybe it was Mitre's discernible improvement that inspired him to look like the aces of old. I was genuinely shocked when I didn't see Mariano Rivera trot out in the 9th, and by shocked, I mean inordinately relieved. It's ok for the B-team to have a renewal of pinstriped confidence tonight, but for the next 4 days, the Yankees are going to have to muster up every ravenous instinct they have to plow through the faltering Sox.
Something along the lines of what happened to the Grinch at the end of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
Really nice win, Yankees. And a fond farewell to #12.