Before the game, the Yankees celebrated Alex Rodriguez Day at the Stadium, where Hal Steinbrenner–of all people–presented their DH with a diamond ring to commemorate his 3,000th hit. You know, the same milestone they determined not to be a marketable achievement just a few months ago. They also presented rings to A-Rod's daughters, which was pretty adorable. As for the game itself, it actually ended up being pretty watchable. After three ugly loses to the Blue Jays, the Yankees finally found their way to victory just in time to stay 3.5 games out of first place. Masahiro Tanaka kept Toronto quiet for the first time in a long time and the offense came through against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
In the second inning, the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs when Brian McCann walked, A-Rod singled, and Chase Headley walked. Dustin Ackley and Didi Gregorius then hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to make it 2–0. Then, in the fourth, Headley singled and Ackley–in the game over Greg Bird because of his good numbers against knuckleballers–put the hurt on R.A. Dickey with a two-run home run to right field to make it a 4–0 game. Joe Girardi made a good call on that one.
The Yankees challenged again in the seventh inning when Ackley collected another hit and Didi Gregorius doubled to right field, but Dickey managed to get the next two outs without any further damage being done. They punched through in the eighth when Carlos Beltran singled and was replaced on the bases by designated runner Rico Noel. A-Rod then hit a double into left field to score Noel all the way from first to make it 5–0 and finally knock Dickey out of the game.
For the first time this series, the Yankees finally got a good start out of their starting pitching as Tanaka struck out seven over seven, four-hit shutout innings. He managed to strike out Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson while also retiring 12 Blue Jays in a row at one point. It was exactly the type of start the Yankees needed at exactly the right time to stop the team's five-game skid and prevent things getting any worse. David Cone had some pretty choice words to say after seeing Tanaka deal:
David Cone on Masahiro Tanaka: "All you trolls on Twitter who said he should have had the surgery. Admit you're wrong right now."— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) September 13, 2015
Dellin Betances rebounded after a few disappointing appearances when he struck out all three batters he say in the top of the eighth inning. Joe Girardi mixed and matched in the ninth, calling on James Pazos to get the first out–thanks to an incredible leaping catch made by Brett Gardner–and bringing in Caleb Cotham to finish the inning.
The Yankees now head to Tampa Bay to face the Rays for three games before getting a day off and heading to Queens to take on the Mets. They're going to need to beat up on Tampa just in case they get shut down by Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz next weekend.