The Yankees decided to make this one more interesting than they should have. The offense did its job, plating 6 runs, including an opposite field 2-run homer from Alex Rodriguez and 2 hits from both Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, but CC Sabathia was just OK. The big lefty started strong, but stagnated in the 7th, giving up a 2-run homer to Luke Scott. That brought the score to 6-3. Even Mariano Rivera was shaky, walking a batter and hitting another before settling down to lock up the save.
The bombers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Derek Jeter scored on, of all things, a balk. Robinson Cano later knocked in Nick Swisher on a ground rule double, as both players continued their hot hitting.
CC Sabathia looked as if he was going to be dominant. His pitch count was low, and entering the 7th inning he'd allowed only one hit, a homer to Adam Jones. If there was a point when Sabathia began to labor it may have been after he tried to stop a hard-hit bouncer with his pitching hand. Sabathia began missing up in the zone after that, but his final line of 7 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB and 7 K will go down as a solid-if-not-stellar performance in the box score.
The Yankees' 3-4 hitters had a nice afternoon, as A-Rod and Tex had two hits apiece. Tex doubled in the third before A-Rod put one in the seats in right to drive him in. Alex's homer was encouraging because it was almost an excuse-me swing that the slugger reached to get. It's encouraging when Alex is putting those kinds of balls in the stands. Tex, for his part, would have had three hits if not for a diving play from Miguel Tejada. Keep it up, boys.
Joba Chamberlain pitched a perfect 8th, continuing his return to form after his rough outing Saturday. Joba looked sharp, and his velocity was up, routinely hitting 96mph on the YES gun. In fact, every Yankee pitcher was throwing gas. CC was up around 94-95mph all game, and so was Mariano Rivera. Mo has been closer to 92mph all season. The elevated velocity may explain why he was wild at the start of his inning, but Mo got it together. Those runners go down as meaningless data points in the record books.
The Yankees look to extend their five-game winning streak in Toronto in an important series against the Blue Jays. After today's game the Yankees currently enjoy a 3.5-game lead on the Jays for the Wild Card. Both teams will be looking to make a statement.
* Photo source: NY Daily News