Aug
27

Soriano’s two homers carry Yankees to 7-1 win over Blue Jays

By

For the first six or seven innings, the outcome of Tuesday’s game was secondary. Robinson Cano took a J.A. Happ pitch to the left hand in his first at-bat and had to leave the game at the end of the inning. Since it was a direct hit, it was easy to think the worst. Thankfully, x-rays were negative and Robbie is just day-to-day with a contusion. Add in the 7-1 beatdown of the Blue Jays and Tuesday was a win-win for New York.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Bombs Over Toronto
This was the best kind of game. The Yankees led 4-0 after just four batters thanks to some small ball (Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter) and a three-run long ball (Alfonso Soriano), which came one batter after Cano took the pitch to the hand. The homer was a bomb into the second deck down the left field line. No-doubter. Those were all the runs the Yankees would need, but they tacked on three more solo homers — Soriano, Mark Reynolds, and Alex Rodriguez — just to rub it in a little bit.

The 4-5-6 hitters drove the offense, going a combined 6-for-13 (.462) with three homers and two walks. Those three hitters? Soriano, A-Rod, and Curtis Granderson. The three guys who returned to the lineup a few weeks ago and added some much-needed thump. Soriano has eleven homers in 30 games with the Yankees, A-Rod has the same number of homers in 20 games (four) that the team’s replacement third basemen had in the first 112 games, and Granderson is sitting on a .412 OBP in 24 games since coming off the DL. Offensive production and lineup depth, glorious offensive production and lineup depth.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Seven Strong
These last few starts have been very encouraging for Andy Pettitte. The veteran left-hander held Toronto to three singles, two doubles, and two walks in seven scoreless innings on Tuesday, throwing 58 of his 86 pitches for strikes (67%). Andy ran into a wall around the 85-90 pitch mark in each of his previous two starts, so smart move by Joe Girardi to get him out of there with the big lead. Save some bullets for the tighter games next month.

With CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes stinkin’ up the joint twice every five days, the Yankees desperately needed Andy to right the ship and give the club a third quality starter alongside Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova. Pettitte has now allowed five runs (two earned) in his last four starts and has a 2.95 ERA (~3.70 FIP) in his last seven starts. That’s huge. He may not be able to give the team 110 (or even 100) quality pitches anymore, but 85 or so pitches of Pettitte is much better than what they’re getting from any non-Kuroda/Nova starter at the moment.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Leftovers
Soriano’s second homer was the 400th homer of his career, making him the 43rd member of the 2,000-hit, 400-homer club. Add in 250 career steals and we’re down to just six players: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, A-Rod, Andre Dawson, Gary Sheffield, and Soriano. That’s some company right there.

Eduardo Nunez caught a spike and twisted his knee in the eighth inning, though he remained in the game long enough to bat in the top of the ninth. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter and Reynolds finished the game at second base. He actually made a really nice double play pivot at the bag on the game-ending double play. A-Rod to Reynolds to Lyle Overbay on the 5-4-3 double play. Just like they drew it up in Spring Training. Nunez is day-to-day.

Gardner (double, moved to third on wild pitch) and Jeter (single) put together the first run before the homerun bats showed up. Jeter went 2-for-5 with two identical hits back up the middle. Nunez singled off the bench after Cano left the game and Vernon Wells chipped in a single and a walk. Seven runs on a dozen hits and three walks is a pretty good day at the office.

Adam Warren allowed a run on five hits and a walk in the final two innings to close things out. The rookie right-hander has been pretty solid in long relief this year, but he’s now allowed 20 runs and 67 base-runners in 37.1 innings since the start of June. That’s bad.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Athletics mopped the floor with Justin Verlander and won a rain-shortened game, so the Yankees remain five back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. New York did gain a game on the Rays, Indians, and Orioles, however. So that’s good.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Blue Jays will wrap up this three-game series with the road trip-ending rubber game on Wednesday night. Hiroki Kuroda and right-hander Todd Redmond is your pitching matchup.

Categories : Game Stories
  • trr

    All’s well that ends well?
    Tonight, anyway…

  • Eddard

    I thought for sure Robbie’s finger was broken and Nuney had stepped on a land mine. It’ just been a nightmare season. Andy’s been sharp as a tack and picking up the slack for CC.

    They need to win Hiroki vs Redmond tomorrow. If they can’t win that one the rest of the games are meaningless. LAA actually came back and beat Tampa, Cleveland and Baltimore also lost. Boston and Oakland won.

    • SDB

      Oh NOES! Does that mean LA robbed Fernando Rodney a chance to shoot his arrow?

      My morning just got better.

  • JGYank

    Got lucky we won and came away with no serious injuries. Let’s hope nothing lingers and Cano feels fine.

  • Deathstroke Heathcott

    Whatever you say about Cano, you have to admit he’s one durable dude.

    • forensic

      I give him plenty of shit, but he absolutely is durable. That one HBP he took to his knee in Fenway (last year maybe?) and then played the next day anyway always sticks out.

      If they weren’t off on Thursday, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he played tomorrow. Being that they are off, I think they’ll probably try to get through tomorrow and give him all the way until Friday night to get as much better as he can get.

    • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

      This is why I’m wary about signing him to a long term deal. His greatest value lies in his durability and his bat speed – he doesn’t have a good eye. And those are EXACTLY the two things that decline when a player ages.

      The last three huge free agent contracts to hitters have gone bust in huge ways (A-Rod, Hamilton, and Pujols). Hell, CC’s contract very well could end up being a disaster if things don’t straighten out, and he’s a pitcher.

      Cano is talented enough that I very well could be wrong, but I honestly think signing him for a long term deal will end up being a terrible move.

      • vicki

        cool, let him walk. gonna be good times following that team next year.

        • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

          I suppose a well thought out response would be out of the question…

          Seriously, what a shitty 2 sentence “rebuttal”. Try harder. There are more years to think about than next year, and we’re not going to be a good team every single year forever.Get over it, the long term needs to be considered along with the short term.

  • forensic

    Nice win. I love it when they put their homer-hitting shoes on.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I think I’ve discovered the key to 2014. The Yankees must, at all costs, acquire J.A. Happ.

    Great win. Postseason Andy has showed up for work. Hopefully not too long with Robbie.

    • Deathstroke Heathcott

      Also crossing my fingers that tonight was the start of another torrid stretch for Soriano.

  • YankeeFan

    Plain and simple, need to win tomorrow’s game and hope that Detroit salvages a split vs. Oakland. That would leave the Yankees at 3 behind the loss column heading into the big series this weekend.

    • YankeeFan

      Just shows how big of a loss it was on Monday night. This series, though a lot to ask, was a must sweep. Win the series tomorrow night and hopefully get some help.

      • gc

        What they need to do is STOP LOSING GAMES STARTED BY KURODA. He needs to pitch like he’s been pitching all year. Let’s face it. Everybody expects the team to lose whenever Hughes and CC pitch these days. Kuroda stunk in Tampa and it prevented them from taking 2 out of 3 down there. He stunk in Boston and it prevented them from SWEEPING the Sox. Hughes is a lost cause and CC is just lost. Kuroda is their best pitcher and needs to start pitching like it again. They have NO chance if he doesn’t.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Rays blew a 9th inning lead and dropped a 6-5 decision to the Angels, so good news on that front. If Phil Hughes wasn’t an enormous turd, they could’ve moved to within four games with that win tonight.

    Oakland won 6-3 in a six inning ballgame in Detroit. But don’t scoff at it being shortened; Oakland has the bases loaded and no outs in the 6th when the game went into the rain delay that eventually condemned it, so it was probably going to get much worse for the Tigers before it got better.

    Indians blanked 2-0, so Yankees pick up a half-game over the past two days. Ditto on the Orioles, who got hammered 13-2 at Fenway, thanks to the fact that, apparently, Shane Victorino discovered that batting right-handed is the greatest thing ever. I’m not kidding; his OPS has gone from .726 on 8/15 to .792 after tonight.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      If Phil Hughes wasn’t an enormous turd, they could’ve moved to within four games with that win tonight.

      They only managed 2 runs last night. Even if Phil Hughes was only a small turd, or even half of a small turd, they wouldn’t have won.

      • forensic

        Come on now people, if there’s one thing the world can agree on it’s that Phil Hughes is an enormous turd.

  • Get Phelps Up

    Unrelated, but just I saw that coming into tonight Clayton Kershaw had a 0.86 WHIP. That is insane.

    • forensic

      Clayton Kershaw, on the other hand, is not an enormous turd.

  • Nathan

    Soriano = WOW

    All I can say right now. I’m actually glad he’s under contract next season as the Yankees will need some RH pop and he obviously still has it.

  • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

    Still can’t figure out why Cashman didn’t want Soriano, especially considering the lack of right handed hitting.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      He never said he didn’t want Soriano. He said he didn’t want him for what they gave up.

      • vicki

        we gave up poop.

      • mike

        which is why he needs to be quiet, because every time he speaks about what “Hal/Levine forced him to do” – like R. Soriano, A. Soriano, Ichiro etc….he looks foolish because these deals have worked out for the Yanks.

        he cant rely on the Swisher trade forever….

    • forensic

      He looks awesome now, but there’s a reason he’s had an OBP under .300 in two of the last three seasons (and nearly three out of five seasons). If there’s enough time left in the season, the possible regression to his mean won’t be pretty.

      • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

        playing on a loser like the Cubs can wear you down.

        12 under .500 in 2010

        21 under in 2011

        40 under in 2012

        • forensic

          While I agree to a point that playing on terrible teams might affect a player, I think you’re overstating it.

          The best season of his career came on a Nationals team that finished 20 games under .500. The worst season of his career (by OPS+) came on a Cubs team that finished over .500. The losing affected him in 2011 and 2013, but not 2012?

          • Michelangelo

            It’s probably not a huge effect but for what it’s worth, my friend who’s a Cubs fan and ends up watching a lot of Yankees and Cubs games because he lives in New York said that Soriano does seem to be playing with much more focus than he did in Chicago the last couple years, making adjustments to how pitchers are attacking him more than he did in Chicago.

            • Michelangelo

              Oh and I’m not trying to suggest that his stats in this stretch are his true talent by any means but at the same time, I think he might be a little better than his Cubs stats recently might say he is.

            • vicki

              of course he does.

              he’s not an avatar; he’s a dude. a proud, athletic dude.

  • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

    Last year on this very date, Texas had a 5 1/2 game lead on the A’s and the Rangers lost the division.

    Two year ago on this very date, Boston had a 8 1/2 game lead on Tampa and Atlanta had a 10 game lead on the Cardinals and both the Braves and Red Sox failed to make the playoffs.

    On this day in 1978 the Red Sox had a 7 1/2 game lead which evaporated away, leading to the Bucky Dent game.

    5 games out. It’s gonna be a hellva September.

    • dkidd

      awesome

      thanks for doing the research

    • Dalek Jeter

      This is one of the best things I’ve read today :)

    • Kramerica Industries

      If you’re gonna take this approach, then I feel a pretentious need to one-up you.

      Texas have a 5 game lead on the A’s with nine games to play in 2012. Fortunately for the A’s, six of those remaining nine were head-to-heads, which they won five out of six of them (which shaved four games off that margin). They also received help when the Angels took 2/3 in Texas, including a 9th inning rally in the opening game of a DH, and the A’s swept the Mariners, which itself included a game where the A’s erased a 4-2 9th inning deficit to win in extras.

      It’s amazing to look back on. The A’s had quite a bit go their way.

    • Deathstroke Heathcott

      Well since you’re counting half-games, the Yankees are technically 4.5 games out. But agreed.

    • vicki

      outliers.

      i hope we pee in the face of odds, but just because a few other teams did it a few other times doesn’t make it likely.

      • gc

        It doesn’t matter how likely it is. What matters is that it’s POSSIBLE. If you’re going to remove hope from being a baseball fan, you may as well take up knitting instead.

        • Darren

          EXACTLY! Numbers are a huge, fun part of baseball, but it’s hilarious to me that the same people who give Girardi so much shit for relying on the binder will rely totally on the percetnages to figure out if the Yankees have a chance this year. And by hilarious I mean infuriating.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        You’ve really become quite a vicki downer.

  • Dalek Jeter

    ” Andy ran into a wall around the 85-90 pitch mark in each of his previous two starts, so smart move by Joe Girardi to get him out of there with the big lead.”

    Now, Joe Torre basically managed my childhood. He was the first manager I was aware of and was the Yankee manager from the time I was 6 until I graduated high school. But this reminds me of Mike Mussina in 2007. Mussina had a terrible year, but he was always good for the first 60-70 pitches of the game, before faultering between 70-80 and then imploding around 90…but Torre always left Mussina in for 90-100 pitches.

    • vicki

      joe torre is a bad person.

    • gc

      Joe Torre’s bullpen in 2007 wasn’t nearly as good as this one.

  • Deathstroke Heathcott

    I wonder how the season would have turned out if the Yankees had somehow swapped the order of the Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano acquisitions.

    • Dalek Jeter

      We’d see a lot of peaks and valleys for Soriano, probably never aquire Vernon Wells period, and would have won 2 or 3 more games over the course of the season (which considering where the team is in the standings, is pretty huge)

      • Dalek Jeter

        acquire*

    • forensic

      If they had Soriano in the first place, they wouldn’t have made a second move to get Wells later in the season, I don’t think. Of course, they also shouldn’t have made the move to get him in the first place, so who knows what they would’ve done.

      • Dalek Jeter

        The Wells move was a desperation one, granted it still worked out to be predictably terrible, so I doubt he’s be traded for later in the season had Soriano has a line of 26HRs .258/.293/.482 107wRC+ fWAR 2.3…because while not terrible it’s been better than anyone else that has been in the line up most of this season (short of Robbie and Gardner).

    • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

      Soriano would have gotten hurt and Melky Mesa would be our starting left fielder.

  • Get Phelps Up

    I don’t think there’s too many things in a Yankees game I like more than watching ARod hit an absolute bomb like he did tonight.

    • forensic

      Totally agree. A bomb to center tonight after a laser the other way last night.

      I know he brought some (a lot?) of it on himself (and I don’t want to get into another discussion about that stuff), but it’s so disappointing to me that his amazing talent and ability will never really get its full due or be celebrated.

      • Get Phelps Up

        Yeah and on top of that he was such a key part of the only championship that I’m old enough to really remember and appreciate and he’s been a big part of the team’s great success since he arrived. If you just look at what he did on the field, I think he could retire tomorrow and get inducted into the hall of fame and have his number retired by the Yankees.

    • Dalek Jeter

      There may have been a few other, bigger moments of the game, but that homer was my favorite moment of the game.

  • forensic

    The Mariners just allowed the go-ahead run to score in the 10th inning on a balk with men on 1st and 3rd and 2 outs.

    When you’re a terrible team, you always find new ways to lose.

    • Dalek Jeter

      I was only half paying attention to the highlights, but it looked like the home plate ump was getting his finger prints all over it. I didn’t see who it was but the runner was totally in the baseline, I didn’t see the balk though…did he actually balk?

      • forensic

        I didn’t see the other play you’re talking about, but the homeplate ump is CB Bucknor. When he called the balk, I was all set to say ‘CB Bucknor strikes again’ thinking it was a bad call, but on replay you could see a bit of a flinch from the pitcher making it a good call (though whether it’s a good rule is arguable). They also showed a replay of him completely zoned in on the pitcher when he was getting the sign, which he obviously should be doing but it was good to see anyway.

  • Chris

    Remember the assessment of the Yankees trade deadline lack of transactions when “they only got Soriano”?

  • uyf1950

    “Adam Warren allowed a run on five hits and a walk in the final two innings to close things out. The rookie right-hander has been pretty solid in long relief this year, but he’s now allowed 20 runs and 67 base-runners in 37.1 innings since the start of June. That’s bad.”

    I’m not sure it’s a bad as the writer would make it out to be. Considering 9 of those 20 runs occurred over just 2 games and 7 innings. One game against the Sox on June 1st and the other against the Rays on July 26th. In his other 13 games 30.1 innings his ERA is 3.26

    • vicki

      you’re right, adam’s dad. he’s not bad because of stats. he’s bad because he doesn’t pitch too well. hurts to watch.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        He’s “Bad” because he pitches once a week, if he’s lucky.

  • vicki

    yeah that kabak hat feeling pretty good about now.

    • RetroRob

      Looks like the trade for Soriano and the return of A-Rod and Granderson means pitchers are less likely to want to issue a free pass to Cano. Kabak looks to luck out!

  • Mick taylor

    How come in a pennant race where every game counts , Oakland was given a win against tigers after6 innings. I have seen games where they continue the game under similar circumstances. I also had a feeling tigers would not help yanks by beating oakland

    • vicki

      maybe if it were a closer pennant race.

    • Kramerica Industries

      It was a 6-3 game with the bases loaded and no outs for the A’s.

      It was gonna get much more lopsided before it got closer. I can’t complain about that game getting canned when it did.

  • Mick taylor

    Detroit only had.34 inch of rain all yesterday. I have seen Yankee games where rain delay is 3 hours and they continue game. Here in a pennant race they end game early

  • JLC 776

    I’m concerned there’s something wrong with Soriano. During his two HRs, he:

    1) Rounded the bases in a dignified manner with his head down
    2) Didn’t point into the stands sixteen times
    3) Didn’t arm flex as he touched first base
    4) Didn’t moonwalk over second base
    5) Didn’t point at his crotch while passing the short stop
    6) Didn’t hip thrust towards the bullpen at third base
    7) Didn’t stand at home plate and stare for a few seconds into every MLB camera in the stadium

    • Robinson Tilapia

      San Pedro de Marcoris weeps.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Cano’s not hitting the DL, therefore they can’t call up Preston Claiborne even earlier. Cashman failed.

    • JLC 776

      Dammit, if a Yankee is going to be hit in the hand by a pitch, that hand better be broken.

  • AllyinCt (formerly Ally)

    As I recall, during spring training, I repeatedly called for the Yankees to trade for Soriano. The Cubs were willing to pay 26 out of 36 million salary owed in exchange for a mid-level prospect. Glad to see that the Yankees finally did it and that it’s working out thus far…just sayin’. :)

    • JLC 776

      One Internet cookie, coming right up!

      • AllyinCt

        Thanks. I’ll enjoy my internet cookie with some internet milk. Go Yankees!

        • JLC 776

          Damn straight!

          And while I won’t claim to have made a case for Soriano during the offseason, I proudly wore my old Soriano shirt on the day of his re-signing!

  • Mike M

    “A-Rod to Reynolds to Lyle Overbay. Just like they drew it up in Spring Training”

    That made me lol for a while