The Yankees are starting to climb out of this recent funk, beating the Blue Jays on Saturday for their fourth straight win and sixth in the last nine games. They also secured their first three-game series win in Toronto since May 2009. Yeah, it had been a while. Let’s recap…
- Super Duper Nova: This was a pretty big start for Ivan Nova, who came in having allowed at least six runs in four of his last seven starts. He responded by striking out ten and walking one across 7.1 innings of two-run ball. All ten strikeouts came on breaking balls, which he used heavily — Nova threw 46 curveballs and 13 sliders out of his 105 pitches, and he did a decent job of locating them down in the zone. He still hung a few, but all the Triple-A guys in the Jays’ lineup allowed him to get away with them. Sometimes you need a date with a bad lineup to kick start things, so hopefully Nova takes off.
- Bats McGehee: The Yankees jumped all over former Yankee Aaron Laffey the second time through the order, tagging him for four two-out runs in the fourth. Jayson Nix singled in the first run of the game before Casey McGehee hit a three-run homer, a legit blast into the second deck in left-center. His first homer in pinstripes was no cheapie. The Yankees tacked on another run in the sixth when Derek Jeter drove in McGehee with a ground rule double, that one also off Laffey.
- Bullpen Work: Nova did most of the heavy lifting, but both David Robertson and Rafael Soriano appeared in the late innings. Robertson threw all of one pitch, getting Omar Vizquel to ground into an inning-ending double play. Nix deserves some props for the tough turn at second. Soriano had a flawless ninth for his 28th save. It was about as routine as it gets for the eighth and ninth inning guys.
- Leftovers: Jeter’s double was his 150th hit of the season, making him the only non-Hank Aaron player in history with 17 consecutive 150-hit seasons. Only three players have 18 150-hit seasons overall, nevermind consecutively … McGehee was the only player other than Jeter with two hits, and so far all of his hits with the Yankees have gone for extra-bases (two doubles and a homer) … the bottom third of the order did almost all of the damage (4-for-12), the top six guys went a combined 3-for-22 (.136). They did draw five walks though, so it’s not all bad.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays won again, so the Yankees will remain six games up in the AL East regardless of what happens after all the rain in Baltimore. Phil Hughes will be on the mound on Sunday afternoon to try to secure the sweep. Toronto will counter with 2009 World Series opponent J.A. Happ.