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Yankees 4, Blue Jays 8: Frustrating

The Yankees couldn't complete the sweep in Toronto, despite having the lead heading to the bottom of the sixth.


For a while, this game was going fairly well. Despite Ivan Nova looking average, and the offense struggling somewhat, the Yankees held a 4-2 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth inning. After that, everything went downhill.

Nova got the start for the Yankees, going 5+ innings, walking four, and allowing seven hits. And despite the fact that he was relying on some hard hit balls turning into outs, and some nice defense from the Yankees, he left the game with a lead. But how the Yankees got that lead was a bit of an adventure.

After a scoreless top half, the Blue Jays led off the bottom half of the first with two singles, by Munenori Kawasaki and Melky Cabrera. After a strike out of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate to face Nova. Encarnacion grounded one to Cano, who went to Nunez to get the out at second. Nunez threw it to first trying to complete an optimistic double play, but ended up throwing it away instead. The error allowed Kawasaki to score to give the Blue Jays the lead.

Toronto then doubled their lead in the second. Colby Rasmus led off the inning with a double. A single by Brett Lawrie moved Rasmus to third, putting runners on the corners with no outs. After Maicer Izturis grounded into a force out at second, Kawasaki flied out to left, and it was deep enough to score Rasmus from third, making it 2-0.

But, the Yankee offense started to chip away at the lead in the third inning. Chris Stewart led off with a home run off the left field foul pole, cutting the Blue Jay lead in half. In the bottom half of the third, the Blue Jays almost added to their lead, but a spectacular play by Vernon Wells kept that from happening. After Jose Bautista led off the bottom half of the third with a single, Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate. Encarnacion drove one to deep left field, but Wells made a fantastic leaping catch against the wall, robbing Encarnacion of a XBH. Wells quickly threw it in to Cano, who got it to Overbay at first, doubling off Bautista, who had strayed too far away from first.

Thanks to that play, the Yankees were still just one run down, and went on to take the lead just a few innings later. Chris Stewart led off the top of the fifth with a single. Two batters later, Cano singled, and then the next batter, Wells, singled, loading the bases with just one out. From there, the Yankees have Blue Jays' starter Josh Johnson to thank for giving them the lead. Johnson walked Lyle Overbay, despite getting ahead 1-2 in the count, to walk in a run to tie the game. Then Johnson walked Eduardo Nunez on four pitches, and the Yankees found themselves in a lead. Despite Johnson's struggles, Ichiro came up swinging, and on the first pitch of his at bat grounded into a double play, getting the Blue Jays and Johnson out of a jam.

But after that, the Yankees added to their lead in the sixth. Jayson Nix led off the inning with a single. Nix advanced to second on a wild pitch by Johnson, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stewart. Brett Gardner hit a fly out to right, deep enough to score Nix, and the Yankees doubled their lead. It wouldn't last.

Nova walked Adam Lind to start the bottom of the sixth inning, and then gave up a double to J.P. Arencibia, giving the Blue Jays runners at second and third with no outs. The Yankees then went to the bullpen, going with Boone Logan to face Colby Rasmus. Logan couldn't do the job in getting out the lefty, as Rasmus singled in Lind, making it 4-3. After that, Logan was pulled in favor of David Phelps, but that didn't go any better. Phelps promptly gave up a double to Brett Lawrie, scoring both runners, and the lead was gone. And a few batters later, Melky Cabrera singled, scoring Lawrie. The Blue Jays had opened up a 6-4 lead, and only added to it from there. Phelps was left in to pitch the seventh inning. He walked Lind and allowed a home run to J.P. Arencibia. It was 8-4 Blue Jays, and the Yankees' chances were not looking good.

But the Yankees did put runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings. With one out in the eighth inning, Jayson Nix singled, but that was promptly erased by Chris Stewart grounding into a double play. And in the ninth, Cano doubled with one out, giving the Yankees one last chance. But Vernon Wells grounded out, and Travis Hafner tried beating the shift put on him with a bunt. But that was successful only in ending the game, as the Blue Jays got Hafner out at first.

Despite the loss, the Yankees still end the series in Toronto with two wins. Tomorrow, they go to Florida to take on the Rays. The Yankees send CC Sabathia to the mound. First pitch is at 7:10 eastern.

Box score. Graph thingy.

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