Aug
20

Cano and Stewart help Yankees to come from behind win over Blue Jays

By

Remember when a four-run deficit was pretty much a guaranteed loss? Thankfully those days are over. The offense picked up Ivan Nova after his rough second inning and helped the team to an 8-4 win.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Two For Three
What’s better than one three-run homer? Two three-run homers! What’s better than two three-run homers? Two three-run homers in which one was Robinson Cano‘s 200th career dinger and the other came from number nine hitter Chris Stewart (!). That blast probably earned him another month as the starting catcher, but who cares at this point? The important thing is that it turned a one-run deficit into a two-run lead in the sixth inning.

The Blue Jays jumped out to an early 4-0 lead (more on that in a bit), but Cano’s third inning blast brought the Yankees back to life. It was crushed out to dead center and pretty much classic Robbie. Stewart’s blast came with two outs and after reliever Neil Wagner walked Jayson Nix. That’s how you make them pay. If the Yankees are going to climb back into the postseason race, they’re going to need unexpected production from guys like Nix and Stewart. Those two played in a big role in this win.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

One Bad Inning
During his recent run of excellent starts, Nova dominated using his fastball/curveball combo almost exclusively. He rarely broke out his slider or changeup because he simply didn’t need them. On Tuesday afternoon, we got a glimpse of what happens when half of that fastball/curveball combo isn’t working. Nova had to rely on his heater because he couldn’t locate his curve or keep it down in the zone, and the Blue Jays tagged him for four runs on four hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch in the second inning alone. Seven of the first 12 men he faced reached base.

To his credit, Nova settled down after that and followed with 4.1 scoreless innings. He retired 12 of the final 17 men he faced, and three of the five exceptions were infield singles. All told, Nova held the Jays to those four runs on eight singles, one double, and two walks in 6.1 innings. He only struck out two and, for the first time since June 23rd, he failed to complete at least seven innings of work (as a starter). That was eight starts ago. Last year, Nova gets knocked out of this game in the third or fourth inning. One of the keys to his recent success has been the ability to adjust and toss up zeroes after a rough inning. That’s a very good development.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Leftovers
Biggest moment of the game: Shawn Kelley getting the scorching hot Brett Lawrie to fly out to center to end the seventh inning. The bases were loaded and the tying run was in scoring position after Kelley walked two batters, but he escaped the jam. That was a huge out. Kelley has now allowed just two of 35 (!!!) inherited runners to score this year. That’s absurd. Off the charts.

Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and is now sitting on 3,999 career hits between Japan and MLB. Obviously the caliber of competition in Japan is lower than it is over here, but that’s still an awful lot of hits. He’s got 2,721 career hits in the big leagues after just 12 seasons and four and a half months. That’s nuts.

With the homer, Cano became the 15th player in franchise history with 200 long balls. He has a chance to climb into 12th place on the team’s all-time homer list before the end of the season. Robbie went 4-for-4 and doubled in an insurance run in the seventh. He was a triple shy of the cycle.

Nix (1-for-2 with two walks) and Brett Gardner (1-for-4 with a sac fly) chipped in an insurance run the bottom of the eighth. Alex Rodriguez singled and walked and is hitting .320/.414/.480 in 13 games since coming off the DL. That’s do just fine. Curtis Granderson singled and Lyle Overbay walked. The Yankees scored at least eight runs for the fifth time in their last seven games. So awesome.

Kelley (19 pitches), Boone Logan (six pitches), David Robertson (12 pitches), Joba Chamberlain (14 pitches), and Mariano Rivera (eight pitches) all appeared in the game, so their availability for the second game of the doubleheader is unclear. I don’t get the point of using Joba if his leash is one base-runner with a four-run lead in the ninth.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Check out MLB.com for the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs for some other stats, and ESPN for the updated standings. The Yankees have moved passed the Royals in the second wildcard race via percentage points. They’re six back right now, but obviously there is a whole slate of night games to be played.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Let’s play two! The Yankees and Blue Jays will play the second game of the day-night doubleheader in a few hours, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm ET.

Categories : Game Threads
  • trr

    This thread went up lightnin’ quick.
    Great win, let’s do it again tonight!

  • What?

    “All told, Nova held the Jays to those four runs on eight singles, one double, and two walks in 6.1 innings. He only struck out two and, for the first time since June 23rd, he failed to complete at least six innings of work”

    • CS Yankee

      I read that three times before giving up on it. He got an out in the 7th, so that is 6-plus innings even in Novaland.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        It’s just a typo. Should say seven innings instead of six.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Really nice to see Nova settle down after that one inning. Earlier this season, he’d just fall right off the rails and never recover. The lights-out starts are one thing. Watching him be able to adjust mid-start is another. Nice reaction to adversity there.

    Nice win. I like this team. I liked the other team too, but they were a bit harder to watch.

    • CS Yankee

      I needed vodka-pudding shots in order to watch the June/July/early-August team.

      This team can do a little damage if the distractions are kept to a min and health comes in the not-ill variety.

      If all get healthy (Jeet, Youk, etc) or corrected (CC, Neney, etc) this could equate to a pennant or even the elusive 28.

  • dkidd

    this game was a template for what needs to happen in order to make the playoffs:

    starting pitcher keeps the team in the game
    cano carries the offense
    bullpen does its job
    unexpected heroes step up in big moments

    lather, rinse, repeat 38 times

    • Steve (different one)

      I get what you’re saying, but cano doesn’t need to carry the offense anymore. There are now 4-5 major league hitters in the lineup. It’s a nice feeling.

  • JLC 776

    You have to feel like Cano is going to go beast-mode tonight.

    Call it a hunch…

  • LarryM Fl

    I do not know how long this good play will last. But, I’m enjoying it greatly. Amazing with the added right hand bats this team has come to life.

    I have given-up my soap box for more playing time for Romine. Obviously Girardi is convinced that Steward is the best option. I defer to Joe.

    Great win, lets play 2 and win 2.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadgeek Roadgeek Adam

    Boone Logan is probably available tonight.

    • JLC 776

      Boone Logan is pretty much available at any given moment. Dude made 80 appearances last year.

  • Gonzo

    Anyone else think this team refuses to lose?

    No? Well f@#$%&! you, I can believe whatever I want!

    Woohooo!

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    Also, Mike, I think you mean 12th place. As awesome as it would be, there’s no way Robbie’s hitting 23 more homers this year.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Weird, I posted this second.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    Remember when we were all pissed off about the Yanks cutting Aardsma in favor of Kelley?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Guilty as charged.

      If I had $200 million dollars…..yeah.

  • ropeadope

    Ichiro partying like it’s 3999.

    Dice-K released by Indians. At Columbus (AAA) he threw at least 7 innings in 7 of his last 8 starts, going 4-3 with a 2.50 ERA over that span, striking out 45 and walking 8. Give him a look before the Red Sox snap him up?

    • Gonzo

      Only if he promises to teach everyone the gyroball.

      • ropeadope

        We’ll write it into his contract.

        • Deathstroke Heathcott

          Between Ichiro, Kuroda, and Dice-K, we can hire a Japanese chef like the Red Sox. Maybe bring back Kei Igawa to wash the dishes.

          • ropeadope

            I’ll agree to the chef, but I’d like to keep Igawa as far away from the team as possible.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I thought about it as well. I’m game.

      • ropeadope

        Good to see we’re all on board. Get it done, Cash!

  • YankeeFan

    Stewart shut me up for a day. I was shocked when that came off his bat and I think he was too. Awesome surprise.

  • Conor in China

    Great comeback win, but why pitch Rivera in the 9th? Even if you don’t trust Chamberlain with the four run lead, why not send in Claibourne? And why not pitch Claibourne to start the inning if you don’t trust Chamberlain? If Girardi does not have faith that Joba can get two more outs before four runs score he should ask Cashman to designate him for assignment.

    • Steve (different one)

      While I agree, and would have given Joba more rope, I’m also guessing Mo was already warming when the Yanks scored in the 8th? If so, it’s not such a big deal to me to bring him in.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        It wouldn’t register on my radar at all except that, yes, I do want even the last guy in my bullpen to be someone you have a tiny bit of trust in. I’m not sure that’s the case with Joba anymore.

        I agree with maximizing depth and not letting the guys without options go easy, but it’s a bit silly when we’re talking about guys like Joba and Huff.

        With Mo, tying run was at the plate, and that, I’m sure, dictated the move from Joe. I won’t use the “b” word, but he stuck to convention there when perhaps he should have saved one of Mo’s final bullets.

        They won, in the end.

  • Kramerica Industries

    This basically fulfills the Yankees in relation to yesterdays results.

    New day, new game. Let the beat roll on, get another W.

  • Eddard

    I think Girardi went to his 7-8-9 guys in Game 1 because he knows in his heart they can’t win Game 2. Their only chance is a double digit run performance by the offense and Hughes wins 10-9. Vernon Wells is in the 2 hole and Nuney is back so who knows. Stewart may be used as a PH.

    • ropeadope

      I was about to argue when I realized it’s an “Eddard comment.”

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Watch Hughes win a 2-1 pitcher’s duel.

        • ropeadope

          Would love to see it, but it means Hughes has given up his full allotment of runs in just the first inning.

          • Cool Lester Smooth

            I think 3-2 works just as well.

    • Kramerica Industries

      Wells is in the two-hole because he kills Mark Buehrle, and that’s not just a “five years ago” kind of thing, either. He was mashing Buehrle earlier this season, too.

      • JGNYC

        Also, when Buehrle is pulled and a righty is brought in, Ichiro can easily slide into the #2 spot by replacing Wells.

  • Wheels

    Just keep winning.

  • Mike

    Another 11 or 12 home runs and Rodriguez gets $ 6 million “bonus”?

    Mike S.

  • Mike M

    I think Girardi had hoped to avoid using Mo in the first game, but after Joba started screwing around he realized we needed the game.

  • Mscott

    WOW! With his next homer Brett Gardner will tie for 122nd place on the all time Yankee home run list!