August was a not an easy month for the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman went on the disabled list, Andy Pettitte did not return as soon as expected, road trips to Toronto and Kansas City didn’t go as expected, A.J. Burnett didn’t win a game, and Curtis Granderson got off to such a bad start he decided it was time to rework his swing.
But the Yankees will begin September in first place in the division, having won their last four games of August to finally break an eight-day tie with Tampa Bay.
“That’s what August is all about,” Mark Teixeira said. “It’s the dog days. You’re going to have injuries. You’re going to have bumps and bruises. Guys are going to get tired. And we came out of it still in first place, which is where we want to me. We’d love to be 10 games up, but this division’s too tough.”
First place on September 1 doesn’t mean a whole lot, especially not when the second-place team is a game back, with seven head-to-head games remaining. But it beats the alternative.
“I thought our guys played really hard and found a way to have a winning month, in our division that’s extremely important,” Joe Girardi said. “It doesn’t really mean a whole lot. One game ahead with a whole bunch to go still, and we’re going to meet them a bunch of times. Obviously you’d rather have the lead than be the other way. As far as a lot of significance right now? No.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame.
• Just a guess on the 40-man move for Chad Moeller: Damaso Marte has been on the disabled list retroactive to July 8. There’s no chance he’s going to pitch before September 8. Moving him to the 60-day should be easily done.
• Mark Teixeira is the sixth player to hit at least 30 home runs in his first two seasons with the Yankees. He has 10 homers in his past 18 games at Yankee Stadium, including the past two. “I’ve been getting some pitches to hit, and I give Robinson Cano a lot of credit for that,” Teixeira said. “Guys don’t want to walk me. You don’t want to walk anyone in our lineup, because our lineup has been clicking on all cylinders the last few games.”
• Nick Swisher’s 25th home run of the season was his second career homer on a 3-0 pitch. “I’ve never been that type of guy,” Swisher said. “I’ve never gotten the green light. When you’re in a situation like that, all you’re trying to do is make good contact… I get excited, I can’t lie. In a situation like that, you really have to try to calm down the situation.”
• Jorge Posada’s 10th career triple gave him 1,014 career RBI, passing Bob Meusel for sole possession of 11th place on the Yankees all-time list. He’s batting .351 in his past 10 games.
• Brett Gardner had his second multi-steal game of the season, and his first since April 18. He’s been successful in 14 of his past 15 attempts.
• Girardi on Derek Jeter’s ongoing struggles: “He’s went through this before this year and guys are going to be up and down. They’re going to put really good streaks together, and they’re going to have streaks that aren’t so good. I’m not too concerned about his at-bats. We’d love to have him hot like some of the other guys, but he’ll get hot again.”
• Phil Hughes wasn’t good tonight. He got the win and limited the damage, but he also walked five batters for the second game in a row. “I was embarrassed for myself so I can only imagine how frustrated it must have been for our guys who were battling at the plate to have to sit out there and watch that,” Hughes said. “I just told them to keep battling and I’ll try to fix whatever’s going on.”
• For what it’s worth, the Yankees seemed proud of Hughes for battling. No one in the building though Hughes was at his best, but he allowed just two runs through five innings. That’s enough to win, obviously. “Phil didn’t have his best stuff, and I’m sure he’d tell you that,” Teixeira said. “But he went out there and he battled. We gave him a lead, and he didn’t give up many runs. That’s all you can ask.”
• Another solid night from Chad Gaudin, who allowed one run on two hits through three strong innings.
• Dave Robertson pitched a hitless ninth.
• Lance Berkman went hitless in what is expected to be his final rehab outing.
• Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees won the waiver claim on Ted Lilly before the Dodgers pulled him back.
• The Yankees have already announced Romine, Laird, Joseph, Kontos and Heyer for the Arizona Fall League. The roster, though, includes two open spots assigned to Yankees pitchers, so there should be some names added to the list eventually.
Associated Press photos of the Yankees outfielders, Teixeira and Gardner. Austin Kearns needs to get some elevation for that postgame celebration.