For the first three innings of this rain-delayed game, the Yankees seemed to be mailing it in. After sitting for over two hours and 40 minutes, the Yanks looked lethargic. Facing Vin Mazzaro – Vinny from New Jersey — the team went 1 for 9 with six strike outs. Meanwhile, the A’s went 6 for 14 and with one out in the top of the fourth, had put together a 3-0 lead.
And then the Yankees turned the tables on the Vinny and the A’s. Mark Teixeira took a 3-0 pitch into the second deck in right field for a two-run home run, and the game would be all Yankees from that point on. They knocked out another two hits and two runs in that inning, and after four innings, they had a 4-3 lead.
Mazzaro, pitching in front of his friends and family from New Jersey for the first time in Yankee Stadium, was dominant the first time around. The second time through, though, the Yankees took the upper hand. He would last just 4.1 innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits and four walks. Of the final 11 Yankee at-bats against Mazzaro, seven would end with hits. After one look, the Yanks saw all they needed, and the A’s paid.
CC, meanwhile, would cruise through the rest of the game. After Kurt Suzuki’s RBI single in the fourth, Oakland went just 3 for 14 against Sabathia. The Big Man didn’t have his best stuff early, but he lasted seven innings and didn’t walk a hitter. This victory — an easy 6-3 win — would be his tenth of the season.
Sabathia gave way to Phil Hughes in the 8th, and the youngest did not disappoint. With Mariano Rivera out, the rest of the Yankee bullpen had to pick up the slack, and that job fell primarily to Hughes. The righty threw just 28 pitches over two innings, 19 of them for strikes. While he didn’t record a strike out, he tossed up a bunch of zeroes and walked away with his first career save.
For the Yanks, this win was their 30th come-from-behind win of the season. With the Red Sox idle and the Rays on the wrong end of a perfect game earlier on Thursday, the Yankees extended their first place lead to a season-high 2.5 games over Boston. Tampa finds themselves 6.5 games behind the Yankees. That’s seven in a row for the Yanks, a nice lead and Joba going later tonight. I’ll sleep well after this one.
A Rookie Pitcher Note: With this victory tonight, the Yankees are now 18-7 against rookie pitchers. That’s the best mark in the Majors. Hopefully, that should put the idea that the Yankees can’t beat rookie pitches they’ve never seen to rest.