About 18 hours after the Yankees seven-game winning streak ended with an 8-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners, the Yanks began a new winning streak, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-2, in the first game of a four-game, 4th of July Holiday weekend series, on a beautiful Friday afternoon in the “Beautiful Bronx”.
Yankees starting pitcher, A.J. Burnett (7-4), was brilliant in his seven innings on the mound, allowing the only two runs the Jays scored, on six hits, [including a long homerun off the bat of Blue Jays centerfielder, Vernon Wells, in the 6th inning]; two walks; and, seven strikeouts.
Burnett’s solid effort got the Yankees back on the winning track, after an awful pitching performance by CC Sabathia in the Yankees 8-4 loss to the Mariners, in the final game of that series, that derailed the Bombers winning ways until today’s victory.
Sabathia (7-5), lasted only 5.2 innings in his losing start, while giving up six runs, on ten hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts.
A.J. Burnett’s victory tied him with CC Sabathia at seven wins apiece, so far, in their first season with the New York Yankees. Andy Pettitte leads the Yankees pitching staff with eight wins.
It is interesting, the Yankees almost let Andy Pettitte walk away from the team, just like they did with Bobby Abreu. But, Andy has pitched very well, and is on pace to win 17-18 games. I think it would have also been a good idea to re-sign Abreu, who would “still” be the Yankees best all-around outfielder if he was on the team this year. Just Saying.
Anyway, back to this game.
Robinson Cano gave the Yankees an early 1-0 lead with a solo homer, his 13th, in the second inning.
The Jays tied it up with a RBI single by Alex Rios in the 4th.
And, the Yankees took the lead again in the 5th, on a bases-loaded walk to Mark Teixeira off Jays starter Brian Tallet; and, a passed ball by catcher Raul Chavez that scored Johnny Damon, moving the Yanks into the 3-1 lead.
Vernon Wells 6th inning homer cut the Yankees lead to 3-2, and completed the scoring for the Blue Jays.
Brian Tallet (5-6), finished his work on the mound for the Jays after six innings. He allowed three runs (two earned), on six hits, four walks, and three strikeouts.
After seven strong innings pitched by A.J. Burnett, manager Joe Girardi made the call to the bullpen at the start of the 8th and brought Phil Coke into the game to face one batter, who Coke retired.
Phil Hughes was then called into the game, and recorded the final two outs of the inning, after also giving up a hit. Hughes was firing 96 mph fastballs up to the plate during his appearance, and may have moved ahead of Brian Bruney as the eight-inning set-up man, building the “Bridge to Mariano”.
Alex Rodriguez capped off the scoring by the Yanks with an opposite field solo homerun into the right field seats, his 14th of the season and 222th of his Yankees career, that moved A-Rod into ninth place on the Yankees all-time homerun list, tying the great Yankees first baseman, Don Mattingly.
The Yankees now had a little more breathing room with the 4-2 lead; and, “The Great Mariano” was called into the game to preserve the victory.
Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect 9th inning, recording his 21st save of the year, and career save number 503, protecting the Yankees 4-2 win.
All winning streaks begin with the “first win” of the streak.
The Yankees have now started another winning streak with their 46th victory this season.
Side Note: I watched this game on the Yes Network, and clearly in sight during the game were these two guys sitting in seats right behind home plate dressed in full umpire uniforms, masks and all. They actually looked like real umpires.
Throughout the game, these guys were calling balls and strikes along with the home plate ump, even standing up to call batters out on third strike calls. This was one of the most bizarre sights I have even seen at a ballpark.
I don’t know who these guys were, or where they came from, or even if they are Yankee fans. But, they both were sitting in $1,250.00 seats, and looked like they were having a good time every time they were shown on the television screen by the Yes Network.
All I know, the night before, Jack Nicholson was at the Yankee game, sunglasses and all, and was also sitting in one of the seats behind home plate, in just about the same area these “fake” umpires were sitting, at today’s game.
Jack looked as “cool” as ever, as opposed to the very puzzling behavior of the two guys dressed as umpires.
As famous New York Post columnist Cindy Adams would say, “Only in New York, kids, only in New York.”
Everybody, have a “Happy” and “Safe”, 4th of July, Holiday weekend !!!
— Jimmy Curran, “BY&L”