Coming from behind had been a Yankee hallmark in 2009. But in 2011, it had only happened once and that was against the Mets on Sunday.
Well, it happened again on Tuesday night.
Curtis Granderson smashed a two-out RBI single in the ninth to tie it and Mark Teixeira drove in Granderson with a game-winning single as New York rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the last two innings to defeat Toronto in front of 41,946 fans at Yankee Stadium.
CC Sabathia (5-3), who was tagged for three runs on a series of sacrifice bunts, bloop hits and a costly error in the fourth inning, stuck around to pitch all nine innings to earn the victory.
The Yankees struggled, as they so often do, with the change-ups from left-handed starter Ricky Romero. He pitched seven innings and only allowed the Yankees a solo home run by Russell Martin in the second inning despite the fact he was tagged for seven hits and three walks. Once again, the Yankees could not get the big hit with runners in scoring position. That is until the Blue Jays bullpen entered the game in the eighth.
The Yankees scored two runs off Casey Janssen and Marc Rzepczynski on a Granderson double, a Robinson Cano two-out RBI double and a Martin single.
But they saved their best for the final stanza. With one out, pinch-hitter Jorge Posada stroked a double to right-center off Jays closer Frank Francisco (1-2). One out later, with pinch-runner Chris Dickerson on third, Granderson singled to right to score Dickerson with the tying run. It was Granderson’s fourth hit in five trips to the plate.
Granderson then stole second to set up Teixeira’s heroics. Teixeira hit a 3-1 Francisco fastball on the ground between second and first base. The ball rolled off the glove of second baseman Aaron Hill and trickled into right-field to allow Granderson to scamper home with the winning run.
The victory gave he Yankees a record of 26-21 and propelled them into first place in the American League East. The Boston Red Sox are a half-game back in second place. The Blue Jays fell to 24-24 and they are in fourth place in the division 2 1/2 games out.
- Granderson is so hot now it looks as if he could a ball the size of a marble. Granderson singled in the third and fifth innings, doubled in the eighth and singled in the ninth. He scored two runs, stole a base and drove in the game-tying run. He raised his season average to .275 and he is second in MLB in home runs with 16 and he fourth in the A.L. with 35 RBIs.
- Teixeira’s game-winning hit was his first in a regular season game for the Yankees. He had a game-winning home run against the Minnesota Twins in the 2009 Division Series. He finally got a face-full of whipped cream pie thanks to A.J. Burnett after the game.
- Give Posada credit for delivering a big hit in the ninth inning that ignited the rally. Posada has been struggling at the plate all season and has been routinely benched of late when left-handers start against the Yankees. But his double in the ninth inning was a clutch hit that was sorely needed.
- Martin is just exceeding everyone’s expectations as a hitter. The Yankees knew we was a top-notch defensive catcher. But they are reaping the rewards of his bat as well. His home run in the second was his ninth of the season and his clutch two-out RBI single in the eighth gave him 26 RBIs on the season. He is batting .270.
- Derek Jeter did not get the job done at all on Tuesday night. He was 0-for-5 with a strikeout and did not get a ball out the infield. In addition to that, he killed a rally in the seventh inning by grounding into a double play with Brett Gardner at second and Eduardo Nunez at third with one out. He also nearly derailed the ninth inning rally by grounding out again for the second out of the inning. Jeter is simply not getting it done with runners in scoring position this season. His average fell to .254.
- Nick Swisher, who was rested to for two days because of a minor forearm injury and the fact he has been struggling at the plate, was not much help either. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and he is now hitting .208 on the season.
- Cano has been a major disappointment in the field this season. His error on a flip from Sabathia on sacrifice bunt attempt by John McDonald kept the inning going and could have been worse if Jose Bautista had not grounded out with the bases loaded. It was Cano’s fifth error of the season. He made only four errors all last season.
The Yankees will go for a series victory on Wednesday against the Blue Jays before heading out on a three-city West Coast roadtrip.
The Yankees will start veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia (2-4, 3.12 ERA). Garcia gave up just two runs on five hits over seven innings in a loss to the Mets on Friday. Garcia, as so many other Yankee starters have, fell victim to a lack of run support. He is 6-6 with a 6.06 ERA in 15 career starts against the Blue Jays.
Toronto will counter left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes (0-3, 4.07 ERA). Reyes did not allow a run over seven innings to Houston in his last outing but ended up with a no-decision. He is now winless in his last 27 starts, one away from a major-league record set by Matt Keough. He has never pitched against the Yankees.
Game-time is 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
- On June 30, Teixeira was hitting .231 and Yankee fans were not happy with the production from the their first baseman. But after going 4-for-5, Teixeira raised his average to .262. With 28 home runs and 91 RBIs, he also seems a lock to record his seventh consecutive season of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.
- After struggling at the plate since he was activated from the disabled list on June 2, Posada appears to be heating up during the pennant push. He has a modest five-game hitting streak in which he is 8-for-20 (.400) with three home runs and six RBIs.
- With Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list, Marcus Thames is turning into a nice contributor as a right-handed batter. Thames was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs and he also scored two runs. He is also ripping left-handers. He is 27-for-79 (.342) with two home runs and seven RBIs against them this season. He is hitting .313 with five home runs and 19 RBIs overall.
- Granderson connected for only his second home run against a left-hander this season with his three-run shot off Tallet in the fifth inning. He has 14 home runs and 41 RBIs on the season. Granderson also sparkled in the field with a tremendous throw on a two-out, bases-loaded single by John Buck in the bottom of the sixth. His one-hop throw to Posada cut down Adam Lind trying to score and ended a big threat by the Jays to get back into the game.
- Despite the 17 hits, two Yankee starters took the collar. Robinson Cano was 0-for-4 with a walk and run scored and Austin Kearns did the same. Kearns’ 11-game hitting streak in which he was 14-for-35 (.400) came to an end.
- Moseley was either too cautious or he got tired after pitching a one-hitter for the first three innings. He walked the leadoff batters in each of the next three innings and ended up with the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings. A grand slam in either inning would have allowed the Jays to get back into the game.
- Chad Gaudin, fresh off his great back-to-back stints of long relief totaling five innings, struggled mightily in his two innings of mop-up work on Tuesday. He was tagged for three hits and he walked two in giving up three runs in two innings.