Tonight's game included Mike McCoy, Moises Sierra, Adeiny Hechavarria and Steve Pearce in the starting lineup. A close game played sometime other than September featured all four of those players. The fact that these players made an appearance in a game at all is amazing by itself, but they started and played the whole game. Steve Pearce hit cleanup for the Yankees in the middle of a pennant race. Injuries make weird things happen.
Both the Yankees and Blue Jays have been hit with major injuries, and tonight their effect was painfully obvious. A game started by Phil Hughes and Ricky Romero at Yankee Stadium ended with a total of three runs scored. This would be nearly unthinkable two months ago. Tonight both guys walked away with a high quality start and, for the most part, did it pretty easily.
Hughes was one run better, though, allowing his lone run on an opposite field homer to the aforementioned Hechavarria. With that home run, Hechavarria joins the ranks of Maicer Izturis for players to hit their first home run of the season off Yankee pitching. That was only a blip on the radar as Hughes did exactly what he should do to a team that struggles for offense, giving up only four hits and striking out five over seven innings. You can only beat the team field against you, so lack of offense or not, it's good to see Hughes pitch as well as he did. David Robertson and Rafael Soriano did the rest, with Soriano picking up the save in angry fashion. If ridiculous complaining about skipping out on the media is going to lead to those kind of results, he needs his own personal exit out of the stadium.
The Yankees offense came courtesy of a Nick Swisher single in the third and a sacrifice fly from Curtis Granderson in the fourth. Romero hasn't been good this season, but he does still have the ability to stifle an offense from time to time. Four through nine in the batting order mustered just three hits and a walk against the lefty. Yes, Romero can still do that, but with Mark Teixeira out for awhile and Alex Rodriguez still recovering, the offense is going to have to come from somewhere. Jeter, Swisher and Cano can try to do it all, but some help with the heavy lifting would be nice in the meantime.
A win is a win, though, even when it's really underwhelming against a hittable pitcher. Good on Hughes to pick them up when there was a really good chance from the start that two runs would be the only offense. Steve Pearce was a starter and the cleanup hitter. We kind of knew something like this might happen, and apparently so did Hughes.
Play of the Game: Hechavarria's home run (-10.4%). The Yankee honors go to Swisher for his RBI single (+10.1%)
CC Sabathia will face off with J.A. Happ tomorrow afternoon in the series finale.