Friday night’s game started out really well, then it really sucked, then it was really awesome again. That’s the anatomy of a walk-off win against a fellow contender, the Yankees’ sixth consecutive win and 11th in their last 15 games. The six wins is their second longest winning streak of the season behind the ten-gamer back in June. Let’s recap…
- Don’t Call It A Comeback: All eyes were on CC Sabathia on Friday, as the Yankees needed their ace to start pitching like, well, an ace. He shook off his recent stretch of poor starts and delivered that much-needed ace-like performance, striking out 11 in eight shutout innings. Sabathia took a no-hitter into the sixth, allowed just three singles, and didn’t put a runner in scoring position until there were two outs in the eighth. His fastball averaged 92.8 mph according to PitchFX, and hitters swung and missed seven times times at his 33 sliders (15 whiffs overall). He looked like the CC of old, which is exactly what the Yankees needed. Just a marvelous performance.
- One Run: Jarrod Parker nearly matched Sabathia zero for zero, but the Yankees were able to manufacture a run in the fourth. Nick Swisher singled to open the frame and then moved to third with one out on Alex Rodriguez‘s single, eventually coming in to score on Curtis Granderson‘s sacrifice fly. It was a really great at-bat by Granderson, who saw eight pitches before lofting a two-strike changeup to left. That was the only run the Bombers scored in regulation, and it looked like it would hold up until…
- Blown Save: I can’t really get on Rafael Soriano for blowing a one-run lead, as much as it sucked. He’s been fantastic since taking over for the injured Mariano Rivera, but he hung a slider — actually several, but he got away the others — to pinch-hitter Brandon Moss who clobbered it to right for a no-doubt solo homer to knot things up at one. It was only his fourth blown save overall and first since allowing the three-run dinger to Colby Rasmus a few weeks ago. Just shake it off, they’ll need him again soon enough.
- Walk-Off: The Yankees have three walk-off wins this season, one on a passed ball and two on Russell Martin leadoff homers. The first came against the Mets during interleague play, the second against the Athletics on Friday. There really wasn’t anything noteworthy about this blast other than the timing — it was a generic 92 mph fastball that caught too much of the plate in an 0-1 count. It wasn’t a Yankee Stadium cheapie either, it landed several rows back in left. Gone as soon as it left the bat, just the way I like it.
- Leftovers: Evidently the plan against Parker was to jump on his fastball early to avoid his out-pitch changeup as four of the first six and five of the first eight batters he faced swung at the first pitch … Ichiro (2-for-3 with a steal) is so hot these days that he singled directly into Parker’s jersey. Here’s a gif if you haven’t seen it … A-Rod (two singles) was the only other Yankee with multiple hits, though Derek Jeter did extend hit hitting streak to 15 games … for the second time in four games, the Yankees didn’t draw a single walk. In both of the other two games, they drew eight walks … David Robertson vultured the win with a perfect tenth inning.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles beat the lowly Red Sox and the Rays pounded the Blue Jays, so they remain one and seven games back in the division race, respectively. The magic number to clinch the division is 12 while the magic number to clinch a playoff berth is just seven. Ivan Nova will make his second start back from the DL on Saturday afternoon against the left-hander Travis Blackley. Check out RAB Tickets for some last-minute tickets to the matinee.