First, don’t forget we’re doing a chat today at noon.
Second, I’ve decided to just start today with the AP story about last night’s game. It’s as good a way as any to set the scene. Frankly, it seems these past few mornings have been more or less the same, with everyone fully aware of what’s at stake in the Yankees game to come. Last night’s game didn’t bring any real wisdom or revelation, just brought a late rally that put the Yankees right back where they started: Needing another win. As long as all these mornings stay the same, it will be a good thing for the Yankees. Means there’s still something worth playing for.
Vernon Wells had a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning, Mariano Rivera earned a four-out save and the Yankees rallied from three runs down to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Wednesday night, snapping a four-game skid.
“We hadn’t shaken hands for a while, so it was kind of nice,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Robinson Cano drove in the Yankees’ first run in this three-game series with a one-out single in the eighth. Alfonso Soriano followed with an RBI double, helping New York avoid falling further behind in the AL wild-card race.
“Tonight was a big game for us,” Rivera said. “Being down 3-0 in the eighth inning and coming back to score four and being able to hold it, it’s a huge game, huge.”
New York is 2½ games behind Texas for the second wild card. The Yankees have 10 games remaining. The Rays beat Rangers 4-3 in 12 innings.
“There’s still a long way to go, but it’s a lot better feeling in this clubhouse than it’s been for a while,” Girardi said.
David Huff (3-1) pitched 3 2-3 innings of relief of Phil Hughes to earn the win.
“All these games are huge,” Huff said. “We need to continue it, we need to keep getting after it and keep winning. There are no more little bumps in the road, it’s get it done or go home.”
Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with a walk as the Yankees improved to 8-2 this season following a shutout loss. New York, which lost 2-0 Tuesday, has gone 34-11 following shutout defeats since Girardi took over as manager before the 2008 season.
Colby Rasmus homered for the fourth straight game and Ryan Goins hit his first career homer but the Blue Jays couldn’t hold on to a 3-0 lead, losing for the sixth time in eight games.
Goins’ homer was the only hit allowed by Huff, who came on after Rasmus connected off Hughes in the fourth.
David Robertson got two outs in the eighth and Rivera finished it off for his 44th save in 51 chances. Rivera entered to a standing ovation from the crowd of 24,247.
“I don’t think there’s any arguing who the greatest relief pitcher of all time is and that’s what I went with,” Girardi said.
Still, it wasn’t easy for Rivera. Adam Lind singled to begin the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Kevin Pillar, who went to second when Rasmus followed with a base hit. Pillar was forced at third on pinch-hitter Munenori Kawasaki’s attempted sacrifice, Goins grounded out and Rivera fanned J.P. Arencibia on three pitches to leave runners at second and third.
“Every time you win, it’s a great feeling,” Rivera said. “Hopefully we come back tomorrow and wrap it up.”
Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ matched a season-high by pitching seven innings but was denied his second win in three starts when the Yankees rallied in the eighth.
Aaron Loup replaced Happ after Brendan Ryan doubled to begin the inning but left after giving up a single to Curtis Granderson. Steve Delabar (5-5) came on and struck out Rodriguez, then gave up an RBI single to Cano, New York’s first run in 16 innings. Soriano hit an RBI double and Wells followed with a two-run double.
“That’s what we’re capable of doing,” Wells said. “We just haven’t been able to do that lately. We needed a win, things have been ugly over the last few days.”
Associated Press photos