On Tuesday night, at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, the Yankees won a much needed game over the Blue Jays, 7-1. Alonso Soriano, who has helped the Yankees win many games with his bat since his return to the team on July 26, recorded his MLB leading sixth multi-homer game of the season. Andy Pettitte also shutout the Blue Jays over seven innings pitched. Effective pitching combined with four homers in a game will almost always lead to a win.
The first inning was dramatic as the Yankees scored half of the runs that they would score in the game. Brett Gardner led off the game with a double off of the wall. He took third on a wild pitch and would score on Derek Jeter’s first of two singles up the middle. The Yankees received a big scare as J.A. Happ hit Robinson Cano on his left hand in the next at-bat. Happ (5.46 ERA) has made a habit of hitting members of the Yankees this season as he was the one who hit Curtis Granderson during the opening game of spring training.
It was later revealed that Cano’s injury was luckily only a contusion and he is now day-to-day after his x-ray was negative. The Yankees would have had to effectively say good-bye to their playoff hopes if his hand was broken. Cano has been an offensive bright spot this season in the midst of many injuries. He leads the team in batting average (.305), RBIs (85) and homers (24). Soriano has hit 26 homers this season but he played for the Chicago Cubs before the end of June.
Continuing with the offensive outburst that was the first inning, after Cano’s hit by pitch put runners on first and second, Soriano hit a deep homer to the second deck in the Rogers Centre. This three-run blast foreshadowed what was to come for Soriano later in the game.
In the third inning, to give the Yankees the 5-0 lead, Soriano hit a solo homer that bounced off the wall in left. That was his 400th homer of his career. If he continues at the rate his is on right now, for another three or four years, he might be put in the Hall of Fame. To go along with his 400 homers, he has 285 steals, 461 doubles and 1,119 RBIs. Soriano now has an outstanding 11 homers in 30 games with the Yankees this season.
Mark Reynolds, for the team’s third homer of the evening, hit a solo shot to the Blue Jays bullpen in the sixth inning. Reynolds has done well so far in his role as a platoon first basemen with Lyle Overbay. After Eduardo Nunez was taken out of the game in the ninth, Reynolds even ended the game defensively by converting the double play from second, which showed his versatility.
Alex Rodriguez would easily hit his 651st homer of his career in the 7th inning to put him 10 away from passing Willie Mays on the all-time homer list and being awarded an extra $6 million. He will surely not hit 10 more this season, and it is not known if/when he will given his upcoming suspension.
Pettitte won his 16th career game in Toronto at the Rogers Centre/Skydome giving him his 10th (10-9) win of the season in the process. Pettitte has struggled at times this season (4.05 ERA), but in his last three starts he has only allowed one earned run in a combined 19.2 innings pitched. He was able to locate all of his pitches last night, which helped him only allow five hits and two walks. Adam Warren, who along with the more likely David Huff, is a candidate to replace the ineffective Phil Hughes in the rotation, allowed a run in two innings of relief while pitching out of damage.
The Yankees desperately needed that win since they can now win the series and since Oakland won they would have fallen even further back in the Wild-Card race. The Bronx Bombers currently have a 4.5 game deficit with 30 games left to play. They will have every opportunity to make up the ground since 13 of their final 30 games are against last place teams, including tonight against Toronto.