The Yankees (38-33) beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Wednesday night and in doing so were able to sweep the first place Blue Jays. The Bronx Bombers are now only 1.5 games out of first place and they couldn’t have started their 15-game stretch against division opponents any better.
David Phelps had his second consecutive impressive start as he only allowed two runs and struck out seven in seven innings. In his previous start, against the Athletics on June 13, he pitched 6.2 shutout innings in a 7-0 Yankees win. He was very into the game as he showed a lot of emotion when he got an out to end an inning. The Yankees were also helped by Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira all picking up two hits.
There were a few non-pitching related plays that Phelps made that greatly helped his cause. In the first inning, after Melky Cabrera singled and Jose Bautista walked, Phelps was able to pick off Cabrera at second. Then, in the fifth inning, Phelps was able to make a great defensive play as the ball deflected off of him and he ran after it to just barely throw Cabrera out at first.
Manager Joe Girardi was impressed by Phelps’s performance against the powerful Blue Jays lineup. “Great performance by David Phelps,” Girardi said. “We really pushed him tonight. He located his fastball and cutter extremely well. His pick off in the first was the biggest play of the game.”
Girardi had Phelps throw more pitches than he had all season because Dellin Betances and David Robertson were both not available after having pitched two days in a row. Phelps was not able to get Cabrera out in the third as the only mistake that Phelps made was the two-run homer that the former Yankee hit off of him.
The Yankees had a balanced offensive attack with Jeter, Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Kelly Johnson and Yangervis Solarte all driving in runs. Solarte, who came into the game after Johnson left with bruised fingers, picked up an RBI after being walked with the bases loaded.
Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to left in the first inning to drive in the first run of the game for the Yankees. Johnson hit a sac fly to right to score Beltran in the second. Beltran showed signs of busting out of his slump as he hit a sac fly to left in the third and then hit a ground rule double that scored Ellsbury in the fifth. This was Beltran’s first multiple RBI game since April 22.
It was the 16th consecutive win by the Yankees over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. After struggling to score more than four runs for many games before June 12, the Yankees have now scored more than four runs in five of their past seven games. Going back to the game on June 5, the Yankees have won nine of their past 13 games.
To begin the series in Baltimore against the Orioles, Hiroki Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees and the struggling Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch for the Orioles. Baltimore is currently in third place in the AL East, one game behind the Yankees.