David Phelps has been as productive as the team could have hoped for this season as he’s been shuffled from long-man, short-man and starter throughout the year. Ichiro Suzuki was traded for with the notion that his performance over the last year and a half was linked to the miserable play of the Seattle Mariners. Last night, both players came together and lifted the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the nightcap of a day-night double header.
Phelps tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He allowed just three hits and walked three while striking out six. He did not factor in the win, but gave the Yankees the length they needed after using six relievers in the 4-2 afternoon win. After Phelps allowed a run in the top of the second on two walks and a single, he was excellent until loading the bases in the seventh after an error by Derek Jeter in his first game back at shortstop in several days, plus a single and a walk. But, for the second straight game, Boone Logan came on and got out of the jam.
Suzuki, who went 3-for-4 in the afternoon tilt, was inserted into the lineup against Toronto southpaw starter Ricky Romero due to a career 9-for-25 line. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had been mostly playing Andruw Jones in these situations for the righty/lefty matchup, but decided to trust the numbers and reward Ichiro for his performance in the day game. Girardi and the Yankees were rewarded as Suzuki went 4-for-4 with four stolen bases.
In the bottom of the eighth inning Curtis Granderson led off the frame with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jayson Nix. Granderson then stole third, but Steve Pearce struck out for the second out. That brought up Ichiro and with the crowd chanting his name, he laced a single to left field scoring Granderson and giving the Yankees a one-run lead. Suzuki tried to generate some more by stealing second and third base. Consecutive walks to Chris Stewart and Jeter loaded the bases but Nick Swisher struck out to end the inning.
There would be no theatrics in the nightcap as Rafael Soriano retired the Blue Jays in order to record his second save of the day and his 42nd of the season.
The Yankees (85-63) stayed 1/2 game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. In tonight’s matchup, the Yankees send Phil Hughes (15-12, 3.96 ERA) to the mound to face another lefty, Aaron Laffey (3-5, 4.55 ERA).