Going into the bottom of the eighth inning, Hiroki Kuroda was cruising and the Yankees were just a couple outs away from the win. That changed quickly. The Yankees ended up getting the win in the end, but it wasn't as easy as it looked like it was going to be.
Kuroda got the start for the Yankees, and once again he was strong. HIROK went 7.1 innings, striking out seven, allowing three hits and one walk. He allowed one run, while he wasn't pitching, but we'll get to that later.
It was the Yankees offense who struck first. With one out in the top of the second, Vernon Wells came to the plate. He just managed to smack one off the bottom of the left field foul pole to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. With Kuroda on the mound, that looked to be all the runs they needed, but they added more in the fifth inning. Jayson Nix led off the inning with a single. Brett Gardner was next up, and he doubled, advancing Nix to third. After a Ben Francisco strikeout, and an intentional walk to Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis came to bat with the bases loaded. Youkilis lined one over Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie, who couldn't make the play; both Nix and Gardner scored. Wells was up next, and he singled to again load the bases, with still just one out. But Francisco Cervelli grounded into a double play to get the Blue Jays out of the jam. This would come back to hurt.
In the bottom halves of the innings, Kuroda continued to dominate. He was allowed to continue into the bottom of the eighth inning, and quickly got the first out. But up next was Colby Rasmus, who singled. After that, Girardi went to the bullpen and brought in David Robertson. Robertson struck out the first hitter he faced, Maicer Izturis, but it did not go smoothly after that. Adam Lind was brought in to pinch-hit for the Blue Jays. Robertson walked Lind. But it's Robertson, he's Houdini, he'll be fine right? Well, not today. Robertson allowed a single to Rajai Davis, after getting him behind in a 0-2 count, to make the score 3-1. With Melky Cabrera batting, Davis stole second, putting two runners in scoring position. Just a few pitches later, Cabrera singled to score both runners and just like that, the game was tied at three. Robertson got out of the inning, but not after walking Jose Bautista. D-Rob was not good today.
After that, the Yankee bullpen looked pretty decent. Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and Shawn Kelley all pitched well and kept the Blue Jays off the board.
While the Yankee bullpen kept out of trouble, the offense was doing a good job of keeping the Blue Jay bullpen out of trouble as well until the 11th inning. Wells led off the top of the 11th with a single. Cervelli was up next and he singled as well. Then, the struggling Ichiro Suzuki laid down a bunt. Aaron Loup fielded it and attempted to go to third to get the lead runner, Wells. But Brett Lawrie was slightly out of position, and Loup threw it away, which allowed Wells and Cervelli to score, making it 5-3.
In the bottom half of the inning, it was Mo time. Bautista led off the bottom of the 11th with a double off Mariano Rivera. Next hitter Edwin Encarnacion hit one hard, but right at Ichiro, for the first out. But after that, Mo struck out J.P. Arencibia and Lawrie to end the game, giving the Yankees a 5-3 win.
One last note to mention: Youkilis was taken out of the game in the sixth inning with back problems. It appears as if he won't be playing tomorrow, but it's unclear right now if he'll miss any more time.
The Yankees close out the series in Toronto tomorrow at 1:05. Ivan Nova gets the start.
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