Today was a lot of baseball, and to make things a little easier, it was a lot of good baseball. Today was a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays. The first game served as the make-up game for the rain-out from May 19.
In that first game, starter Ivan Nova gave a great outing, save a single inning. Nova threw just 88 pitches over 6.1 innings, allowing 9 hits, 4 runs, and 2 walks, striking out 2 batters. Those 4 runs came in the 2nd inning, the only inning Nova seemed to falter — an RBI single, an RBI groundout, and a 2-RBI double. But the Blue Jays wouldn’t score another run until the evening game.
Keeping Toronto scoreless, Kelley and Logan each got an out to complete the 7th inning, Robertson took his usual 8th inning stint, and Chamberlain and Rivera split the 9th inning to keep the Yankees in the lead. And the Yankees had some great defense in this game, especially in the form of Jayson Nix playing at shortstop today.
Now, the Yankees scored like Bronx Bombers today. In the 3rd inning, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki on base with a single and double, respectively, and Robinson Cano hits his 200th career home run deep into center field, onto the netting of Monument Park. But the Yankees still trailed the Blue Jays until the 6th inning. With two outs and Alex Rodriguez and Jayson Nix on base with a single and a walk, it’s Chris Stewart’s turn to hit a 3-run home run, this time to left field. And suddenly, it’s 6-4 Yankees, and they never looked back. Cano tacked on extra insurance with a double in the 7th to score Ichiro, and Gardner’s sacrifice fly in the 8th scored Nix to firmly give the Yankees (and Nova) the 8-4 win.
It should also be noted that Ichiro Suzuki is currently sitting at 3,999 combined professional hits (between his time in Japan and in MLB) with his two hits today (3,998 & 3,999). With Ichiro’s passionate following, every game has been the same waiting game as it was for Jeter’s 3000th hit in 2011. You know it’s coming, but the when and how is just around the corner.
And then we had a night game with starter Phil Hughes, who actually did a pretty good job in his 6 inning outing. During his 100 pitches, he allowed 7 hits, just 2 runs, 2 walks, and struck out 6 batters. Those two runs came as a result of a wild pitch in the 1st and a sacrifice fly in the 5th. Preston Claiborne was recalled for the doubleheader only, as per the exception that a doubleheader can hold 26 men on its active roster, and he threw 2 innings, keeping the Blue Jays at just 2 runs. And they sent Rivera out in the 9th again (though not a save situation at that point), who continued the streak.
The Yankees continued their offensive streak, but decided not to show off until the last possible minute. Going into the 3rd inning, the Yankees were down 1-0, so Cano’s hot streak of the day continued as he singled home Romine to tie up the game. In the 7th inning, the Yankees down again 2-1, and it’s Nix to tie up the game with a solo home run to left field. Into the bottom of the 9th inning, on 3rd base is Ichiro, pinch-running for Reynolds, so when Nix slices a single into left field, Ichiro then scores for the walk-off single and the win (awarded to Rivera for his efforts in the 9th).
Like I said before, it’s Jayson Nix Day in the Bronx. He’s always been a strong utility player because he works hard no matter where he’s place in the line-up or on the field. So I guess he’s my “Player of the Day”, if I had to give such an award.
Also, for those of you wondering, the pitcher who drilled Rodriguez Sunday was suspended for 5 games and fined. Girardi was also fined, which is standard practice for ejections. The Red Sox have 2 days off this week in their tour of the West Coast, and typically starting pitchers are allotted 4 games off in between starts. You do the math and decide what you think. I’m trying to be positive here, and I don’t see how people are okay with harming another person, no matter who that person is.
A great day to win a couple of ball games though! Keep the ball rolling, boys!