If you missed the game today and saw the final score, you might have thought this was a tightly contested and compelling game. You would be wrong.
As you can see above, even when the Yanks pulled within one run in the ninth inning, they still had a very slim chance (10-15%) of coming away with the victory. They didn't go quietly on a getaway day, but for a while it looked like that might be the outcome.
Joe Girardi was ejected in the first inning after Derek Jeter was caught stealing at third base with no one out. Jeter walked, advanced to second on a balk and made a questionable decision to try and take third. Although the throw beat him to the bag, replays showed Jeter to be safe and Girardi was tossed when he started wagging his finger at third base umpire Marty Foster. Unlike four out of the five times he's been ejected in his tenure with the Yankees, the team did not end up winning this one.
Andy Pettitte sat the first five Blue Jays down in order, but then issued a walk to Kevin Millar. Jose Bautista and Rod Barajas both added two out singles which in tandem plated the first run of the game. In the top of the third, Pettitte again got to two outs but Alex Rios lofted a three run homer just out of the reach of Melky Cabrera into the left field seats to put the Jays ahead 4-0.
Ricky Romero wasn't dominant today (6.1IP, 7H, 3BB, 5K), but he held the Yankees down admirably with some help from his defense, namely Jose Bautista. Leading off the bottom half of the third, Brett Garnder sliced a ball out to left field line which looked like it would drop in. However, Bautista sprinted and barely made the catch, saving what would have surely been a triple by the speedy Gardner. In the fourth inning, Robby Cano took a pitch deep to left-center, but Bautista made the catch against the wall and threw the ball back to the infield to double off A-Rod.
The Yanks didn't get on the board until this 5th inning when Eric Hinske yanked a ball of the fencing of the right field foul pole in his first game as a Yankee. Starting in RF, he went 2-4 with an RBI and a HBP. Not a bad debut at all.
Pettitte came out for the seventh inning having thrown 96 pitches. He faced two more batters, gave up his second homer of the day, walked Marco Scutaro and didn't both to record an out in the process. Brian Bruney replaced Pettitte but only added to the fire, giving up two doubles, a walk and two runs before being replaced by David Robertson. Robertson threw 1 1/3 perfect innings, lowering his ERA on the season to 2.66 in causing me to wonder why he has only 2/3 IP in high leverage situations this year.
The leverage got progressively higher in this game as the Yanks added two runs in the seventh inning to bring the score to 7-3. Ricky Romero was pulled in the 7th with one out and the bases loaded. Brandon League came on and allowed two inherited runners to score before finally getting Mark Teixeira and A-Rod to strike out on a grand total of six pitches. League might have cost Romero a few points on his ERA, but left him with a chance to win the game.
The Yanks had a chance to pull closer in the 8th. Derek Jeter walked with two outs and the bases loaded to make it 7-4, but Nick Swisher swung at the very next pitch and popped it up to end the threat.
Jonathan Albaldejo added a scoreless inning in the 9th which kept the Yanks within striking distance. Teix and A-Rod once again recorded quick outs, but the Yanks mounted a two out rally. Jorge Posada singled, Cano doubled and Matsui drove them both in with a single that dropped in front of Vernon Wells, who had been playing deep in CF.
The game was in the hands of the newest Yankee, Hinske. Facing Jason Frasor, the Jays' closer, he ran the count to 3-1. The fifth pitch of the at bat was well out of the strike zone, but Hinske fouled it off. The sixth was a high slider, even further out of the zone, but this one resulted in a swing and a miss. Game over. 7-6. Close but no cigar.
We didn't get the 4 game sweep we had hoped for, but 3-1 is nothing to complain about. The Yanks head to Minnesota having distanced themselves from the Jays (6.5 games up) and the Rays (5 games up). They trail the Sox, who welcome Oakland to Fenway tonight for the first of a three game series, by a game and a half.