The Yankees needed a win in the worst way. They got it thanks to the big bats and a strong pitching performance from Andy Pettite. They hit four home runs for a 7-1 win over the Blue Jays squaring the series in Toronto. Alfonso Soriano went deep twice highlighted by a three-run bomb off J.A. Happ in a four-run first. Derek Jeter started the scoring by plating leadoff man Brett Gardner with an RBI single. After Happ plunked Robinson Cano, Soriano crushed a fastball right over the plate for his 10th in Pinstripes.
Of more concern was Cano, who after staying in the game initially left for X-rays. He was hit on the left hand. Thankfully, it was negative. He has a bruised hand and shouldn’t miss much time. Crucial to the Yanks’ chances. At this point, it’s do or die. A disappointing weekend series in Tampa that saw them lose twice followed by Phil Hughes’ latest horrific outing had the Yankees in a slide.
Soriano later slugged his 400th career homer just clearing the left field fence. With Pettite on cruise control tossing seven scoreless, A-Rod ripped his second dinger in two days. A long blast to left added the PAT. He has four homers since returning. For those keeping score, it was Rodriguez’ 651st career home run. A great player regardless. Unfortunately, he’ll have a big asterisk next to his name when his career ends.
Pettite walked two and fanned three. He has won three straight decisions. Andy’s doing his part. Now about C.C. Sabathia? He didn’t pitch poorly in Saturday’s loss to the Rays. But the big southpaw fell apart in the sixth after dominating the first five innings. Too often, that’s been the case. If the Yanks can get a strong final month from their cash cow, it’d go a long way to making a push. As for Hughes, I don’t see how you can live with him every fifth day. These games are too important. Joe Girardi must give him the quick hook the first chance he gets into trouble.
Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney blew the save in the Rays’ 6-5 loss. With the A’s winning a rain shortened game over a more hittable Justin Verlander, Tampa still leads Oakland by a half game for the top wildcard. They’re five clear of the Yanks while the Athletics are four and a half up. Of more concern, the Indians continue to hang around. They were shutout by Atlanta 2-0 but are two back. Baltimore got hammered by Boston 13-2. Shane Victorino homered twice. The Orioles lead the Yanks by a half game for third in the division.
SORIANO 400 HOMER BREAKDOWN