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By Gary W. Marchese Jr.
Toronto, Canada (Sept 18) – The New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays by the score of 7-6 on Saturday afternoon. Bartolo Colon started the game and did not pitch well at all. The Yankees bullpen did an outstanding job and the offense did a good job as well especially later in the game. Alex Rodriguez had a good return to the lineup and Curtis Granderson had a great game. The Yankees started out sloppy, including on the base paths where they cost themselves at least a couple of extra runs.
Colon pitched four innings giving up six runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out three. Scott Proctor pitched an inning giving up a walk and striking out one, Aaron Laffey pitched a perfect inning picking up his third win of the season and Hector Noesi pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout. Rafael Soriano struck out the side in his one inning of work, Soriano has struck out the last seven batters he has faced and Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 42nd save of the season and 601st of his career. The 601 saves tie him with Trevor Hoffman for most all-time. Rivera is widely considered the greatest of all-time and does not need a record to validate it but I guess this would prove it to anyone who has any doubt. Rivera will set the record with his next save and add to it with any additional and he is under contract next season.
Derek Jeter had a hit, Granderson had three hits, two RBI and two walks and Mark Teixeira had two hits. Robinson Cano had an RBI, Rodriguez had two hits and three RBI and Jesus Montero had a hit. Brett Gardner had two hits, Teixeira and Granderson each had a double and Gardner had a triple. Rodriguez and Granderson provided the homeruns. Granderson hit his 40th of the season, what a season he has had. The Yankees were 2-7 with runners in scoring position and they left five men on base. Austin Romine made an error.
The Blue Jays took an early lead in this game with four runs in the second inning. The Yankees were not looking good at all in this game. Colby Rasmus had an RBI double, Brett Lawrie grounded out scoring a run, Jose Molina had an RBI double and Mike McCoy had a sacrifice bunt that scored a run. It was 4-0 Jays at the end of the second inning. In the fourth Cano, hit a sacrifice fly and Loewen made an error to score a run and make it 4-1. It could have been a much bigger inning but with second and third one out, Swisher hit a deep drive that the center fielder made a nice catch. Cano for some reason just kept on running and not only got double off second but was out anyway because he ran past Teixeira. The run would have scored to make it 4-2 if Cano would have just stayed at second, instead the inning ended and it was 4-1 Jays.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, McCoy hit a two run double and it was a 6-1 lead for the Jays. In the sixth Teixeira hit an RBI single and Rodriguez hit a three-run homerun to make it a 6-5 game. In the seventh inning, Granderson hit a two-run homerun to give the Yankees a 7-6 lead and that is how the game would end up.
The Yankees have evened the three game series with the Blue Jays. The rubber game will be on Sunday afternoon at 1:00PM. Freddy Garcia will be on the mound for the Yankees. The Yankees now have a five game lead in the loss column for first place in the AL East. The Red Sox lost again to the Tampa Bay Rays leaving the Rays only three games behind them for the AL wildcard. The Yankees magic number is five for the postseason and eight for the division.
The Yankees will head home after Sundays game and play a makeup game against Minnesota on Monday before playing a four game series against the Rays. They will then play the Red Sox for three games. That series could be where the Yankees clinch the division and they would love nothing more than to clinch the division at the Red Sox expense and also knock them out or really hurt their chances. Phil Hughes was scheduled to start on Monday and he has been scratched with back spasms. The Yankees have been using six starters for a while now and this could answer their questions of who will be in the rotation depending on how serious it is.