This was not Javier Vazquez’s finest hour, but it was a win, and for the second time this season, Vazquez is better than a .500 pitcher. He’s 8-7, and it only seems fair that his offense had to pick him up for once.
“We’re happy to score for him because he’s had some games when he’s pitched outstanding and we haven’t scored for him,” Derek Jeter said. “And then people wonder why he hasn’t gotten so many wins.”
Vazquez has left games trailing 3-1, 2-0, 1-0 and 3-0. He lost all four of those games. He’s also left games leading 2-0 and 1-0 and got the win in only one of those. This time he pitched very well for four innings, but once he had a huge lead, the game seemed to get away from him.
“When you have that type of lead and you get into some longer counts, the one thing you’re trying to stay away from is walking people,” Joe Girardi said. “And that’s when you can get away from what you do in a sense and become a one- or two-pitch pitcher instead of a four-pitch pitcher.”
In the end, the Yankees bullpen — and home runs from Juan Miranda and Colin Curtis — let Vazquez escape with his first career win against the Angels. It made him the third active pitcher with a win against all 30 current major league teams. Barry Zito and Jamie Moyer are the others.
Here’s Girardi’s postgame audio.
• Until today, Brett Gardner had never been ejected from a game in his life. “I’d rather not talk about it,” he said. “It’s over and done with.” Girardi didn’t say much more, but he said the decision to toss Gardner left him “scratching my head.”
• Much has been made of the Yankees need for supporting players at the trade deadline, but Miranda, Curtis and Francisco Cervelli came up pretty big today. “These kids can hit,” Girardi said. “Their playing time is not as consistent as it is necessarily in Triple-A, but we believe that these kids can impact the baseball.”
• Girardi had to go to his bullpen for four innings, but he said he’s not worried about tomorrow. “We’ll have plenty of arms,” he said.
• Speaking of the bullpen, Girardi was pretty happy with Joba Chamberlain. “He did what he had to do,” he said. Both Chamberlain and Dave Robertson allowed base runners but ultimately pitched out of a bases-loaded jam to preserve a one-run lead. Chamberlain later allowed a run in the eighth.
• Girardi seems to like Curtis, who is 4-for-8 with six RBI as a pinch hitter. “Not having a lot of at-bats and seeing a lot of pitches over the last two weeks, it’s an amazing at-bat,” Girardi said. “The one thing he has shown, not only can he get hits in pinch-hit situations, but he can put long at-bats on people. And that’s what he’s done. When you make a mistake, he puts a good swing on it.”
• Gardner on Curtis: “I was up there trying to get a guy in from third. He went up there and hit a three-run homer.”
• Curtis got his first home run ball from the fan who caught it. The price was two autographed baseballs, one from Jeter and one from Rodriguez. “I remember when I hit my first home run I didn’t get the ball, so I’m happy he got it,” Jeter said.
• This was Robinson Cano’s third career game with two intentional walks. It hadn’t happened since 2007.
• Mark Teixeira has now reached base in 37 straight games, Nick Swisher has scored in seven straight and the Yankees have hit a home run in eight straight.
Associated Press photos