Big picture, there was no bigger story last night than the fate of Robinson Cano. A broken hand would have been devastating to the Yankees, and might finally have been the injury that erased any hope of a surge into the postseason. Smaller picture, the story of last night’s game centered on Alfonso Soriano and Andy Pettitte, teammates a decade ago who are helping the Yankees again this year. Here’s the AP from Canada.
Ten years later, he is proving it.
Soriano hit two home runs, Andy Pettitte pitched seven shutout innings, and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1 on Tuesday night after they lost Robinson Cano in the first inning.
“It’s great for me,” said Soriano, who has hit 10 home runs in 25 August games. “When I left here (in 2004), I wasn’t sad because it’s part of the game, but I thought about how I had something to prove to myself, to my teammates, to the fans.”
Alex Rodriguez and Mark Reynolds also homered for the Yankees, who won for the 13th time in 15 meetings with Toronto this season.
Rodriguez hit a two-out solo shot to center off Esmil Rogers in the seventh, his 651st career home run and second in two games. Rodriguez, who has four home runs this season, is nine away from tying Willie Mays for fourth on the career list. Reaching the milestone would secure a $6 million bonus for the third baseman.
Soriano’s homers, both hit on the first pitch, were the 399th and 400th of his career. They were his 27th and 28th this season and 10th and 11th since being traded back to New York from the Chicago Cubs on July 26.
“It was a great pickup for us,” Pettitte said of acquiring Soriano. “It’s energizing when you have a special player like that come and be able to hit for that kind of power and be able to get out there and run around the bases. It’s exciting.
“He looks like a young man out there, and I know he’s not,” Pettitte added. “Hopefully he can keep it going.”
It was Soriano’s sixth multihomer game this season and the 36th of his career.
“He’s been great for us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s a big reason we’ve scored a lot more runs and won a lot more games.”
Cano sustained a bruise on his left hand after being struck by a pitch from left-hander J.A. Happ in the first inning. Cano stayed in the game to run the bases but was replaced by Eduardo Nunez in the bottom half.
Precautionary X-rays were negative, and the Yankees said Cano is day to day. Asked when he expected to return, Cano targeted Friday’s home game against Baltimore.
“It’s swollen right now, and the last thing you want to do is aggravate it,” he said.
Nunez twisted his right knee when he caught his cleat in a seam on the artificial turf while covering second base in the eighth. He was checked by trainer Steve Donohue and initially stayed in the game, but was replaced by pinch-runner Lyle Overbay three batters after hitting a leadoff single in the ninth.
“He just kind of tweaked his knee,” Girardi said. “That all checked out fine. The doctor checked him out and he’s fine.”
Reynolds moved from first to second in the bottom half, with Overbay taking over at first. Girardi said Reynolds could handle second base Wednesday if needed.
“He’s done it before,” Girardi said. “You have to go back a couple of years, but he’s done it before.”
Pettitte (10-9) improved to 7-1 in his past eight starts against Toronto and is 25-13 in 46 games against them, matching former teammate Mike Mussina (25-12) for the most wins over the Blue Jays by any opposing pitcher.
“His stuff was really good,” Girardi said. “I thought he was sharp.”
Pettitte allowed five hits, walked two and struck out three to win his third straight start after winning just two of his previous 11.
“The biggest thing, like I said for several months, the pitches weren’t doing what they’re supposed to do,” Pettitte said. “They’re cooperating right now. Hopefully they’ll cooperate the rest of the season.”
Associated Press photo