Well, hello there everybody. Welcome to This Week In Yankees Baseball! Look out Blue Jays. Here come the Yankees!
After a week-opening loss to the A´s on Sunday, the Boys from The Bronx caught fire. And the contributions are coming from multiple sources.
Masahiro Tanaka took the mound on Tuesday to open a big series against the front-running Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. It didn´t start out the way Tanaka planned. Jose Reyes guessed right on Tanaka´s first pitch and deposited it into the shortest part of the park to put Toronto up 1-0. But after that, it was lights out for the Blue Jays as Masahiro struck out ten in six innings.
A two-run home run by Brett Gardner was the big blow for the Yanks, as they went on to win 3-1. Gardner´s batting average has been climbing like a Macy´s escalator. In his last ten games, he has batted .350, improving his season average from .279 to .290. And Tanaka´s win put him at the top of the majors with 11, and second in ERA amongst starters at 1.99.
With the Blue Jays looking over their shoulders, Chase Whitley got the start for the Yankees on Wednesday. Just as Gardner had done for Tanaka the day before, Brian McCann gave Whitley all the support he would need. McCann belted a two- run homer and a three-run triple as the Yanks won 7-3. Whitley allowed two runs, in five innings to improve his record to 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA. How about lettin´ Tanaka and Whitley start off for the American League in the All Star game?
So Thursday was the Blue Jays’ last chance to salvage a game in the series. But David Phelps had other ideas. He gave the Yankees seven strong innings, striking out seven, and allowing just two runs. Phelps was in an early jam, but he picked Melky Cabrera off second base, and then struck out Edwin Encarnacion to set the tone for the day. Carlos Beltran notched two RBI as the Yanks went on to win 6-4. That makes two sweeps in the last two weeks for the surging Bombers.
That set the stage for perhaps the most dramatic game of the week. The Baltimore Orioles came to town with their own sites set at overtaking the slumping Blue Jays. Hiroki Kuroda had the O´s no-hit through five, but Baltimore broke through for two runs in the sixth.
And when the Orioles tacked on another run in the top of the ninth, the Yankees headed for their last licks down 3-1. But after Brett Gardner scored on a single by McCann, Beltran came up with McCann and Teixeira on base. Then… ¨See Ya,¨ Beltran smashed a walk-off home run as the Yanks won 5-3.
So, the skies are filled with Blue Jays and Orioles. But it´s the Yankees who are flying high as they finished the week tied with first place Toronto in the loss column. How about that!