Happy 4th of July!
The Yankees were victorious on Friday, thanks in large part to the generosity of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees won the game, 4-2.
Without a ball leaving the infield, the Yankees broke a 1-1 tie with the Jays in the 5th inning. The first two batters (Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter) walked, and Johnny Damon hit a bunt single to load the bases. Mark Teixeira was the beneficiary of the third walk of the inning, which scored Gardner. After Alex Rodriguez hit into a fielder’s choice that took out Jeter at home, a passed ball by Jays catcher Raul Chavez allowed Damon to race home with their 2nd run of the inning.
The Jays’ Vernon Wells homered in the 6th to close the gap to 3-2, but that’s as close as they would get. A.J. Burnett fared much better in his second start against his former team, going seven innings and allowing only six hits and two runs. He walked only two batters, while striking out seven. He also hit David Dellucci with a pitch, but the walks and hit batter did not come back to haunt him. He was able to work out of difficult situations in the early innings without any damage.
Simmons/NY Daily News
By the late innings, it was over. The Phil’s took over in the 8th. Phil Coke induced the only batter he faced, Adam Lind, to fly out to left. Phil Hughes came in and, after allowing a single to Scott Rolen, got the next two batters, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells, to ground out. Manager Joe Girardi still insists that Brian Bruney is his 8th inning guy, but for the last couple of games, he’s gone with the hotter hands.
I am very impressed with the job that Phil Hughes has done since his conversion to the bullpen. I am still hopeful that he’ll take a starting role in 2010, but for now, it’s nice to have a reliever that can be depended upon in late innings. I personally think he should become the bridge to Mariano Rivera unless his performance dictates otherwise. Hughes’ emergence definitely relieves pressure for the Yanks to seek outside help for the pen, although I agree that it would still be an upgrade to add Houston Street or Chad Qualls (depending upon the cost).
Simmons/NY Daily News
A home run by Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the 8th allowed him to tie Don Mattingly for ninth place on the Yankees All-Time HR List with 222. He also now stands on the Major League All-Time HR List with 567 HR’s (two behind Rafael Palmeiro).
Mariano Rivera quietly finished the Jays in the 9th. He faced only three batters, and struck out two including Raul Chavez to end the game.
Artist – John Michael Santora
The Yankees closed the gap behind the Boston Red Sox to two games. The Sox fell to the Seattle Mariners, 7-6, in eleven innings.
John Tlumacki/Boston Globe
It was an enjoyable day in baseball, but today, win or lose, promises to a very magical and special day for all baseball fans. Enjoy the day!