Twenty minutes into Thursday night’s game against the Blue Jays, it looked as though the Yankees were going to walk away with an easy win. While Derek Jeter grounded out, Johnny Damon walked, Mark Teixeira singled and A-Rod walked. Hideki Matsui then hit an RBI single that led to a bases-clearing error by Travis Snyder. Jorge Posada added another single, and the Yanks had a 4-0 lead before the Blue Jays came to bat.
In the end, the score belies the game. While the Yankees held on to win 10-5, it wasn’t that much of a blow out, and it wasn’t ever a really close game. It was though a rather boring game and an endless one to boot. The Yankees needed five pitchers to get through a hapless Blue Jay team, but when the dust settled, the Magic Number had dipped to 22.
With Sergio Mitre nursing a bruised arm, the Yankees turned this game over to Chad Gaudin. For three innings, he threw an OK game. In the fourth, he was anything but OK. Nursing a 5-0 lead, Gaudin couldn’t throw strikes. He walked Vernon Wells, struck out Randy Ruiz and then watched the wheels fall off. After a single, an HBP, a single, a sac fly and a single, the Yankees saw their lead wither to two runs, and Gaudin’s night was over.
Chad gave way to Alfredo, and for a few innings, the Yankees continued to roll. Jorge Posada added a pair of RBIs to give the Yanks a 7-3 lead, but in the sixth, Aceves lost the zone too. A few doubles, an error and a passed ball brought the Blue Jays to within two, and while Aceves would get out of the inning, it wasn’t the best of performances. He couldn’t throw strikes in the sixth, and his stuff, electric early on, wasn’t doing much of anything by the end.
Yet, despite these lackluster pitching performances through six innings, the Yanks wouldn’t encounter any more problems. David Robertson struck out two in one inning of work, and Brian Bruney carried them through a solid 8th. Then, the Bombers returned. A-Rod lined a two-out home run just over the left field wall. Hideki Matsui walked, and then Jorge Posada capped off his four-hit night with a two-run home run deep into right. Jason Frasor, by the way, had given up just one home run in 45.1 innings before running into the Yanks in the 9th.
With that win, the Yanks moved to 38 games over .500. They held their 7.5-game lead over the victorious Red Sox, and every win brings them one game closer to the AL East title. It was a long slow three-hour and 37-minute affair, but I’ll take the W every day.