When Andy Pettitte walked off the mound in the third with what turned out to be a grade 1 groin strain, I did not have a good feeling about the outcome of this one. The Yankees pen has been awful, and the Yankees were already down 3-2 and the Rays were threatening.
David Robertson, a surprising pick by Joe Girardi for such an early part of the game, gave me a little confidence when he came in and got out of Pettitte's jam.
The Yankees would then tie the game in the bottom half of the third on Mark Teixeira's RBI single.
Robertson stayed in the game and threw a scoreless fourth to complete his day.
Then, after the Yankees went down quietly in the fourth, Chan Ho Park replaced D-Rob in the fifth and besides an error by Jorge Posada pitched a clean inning.
In the bottom half, the Yankees broke through with four runs against David Price to give themselves and their relievers some much-needed breathing room. Brett Gardner started the inning with a walk and then stole second. Derek Jeter then picked up his second hit on the day to drive in Gardner and give the Yanks their first lead of the day. Jeter moved to second on a wild pitch, and then third on Nick Swisher sac fly, and two batters later came into score on Alex Rodriguez's blistering line drive up the middle. After Robinson Cano walked, Jorge Posada capped off the rally with a two-run double.
The seven runs price allowed was the most he's allowed all year. Nicely done, Yanks.
The Yankees would continue to tac on runs through the rest of the game. They made is 8-3 on Swisher's two-out RBI single in the 6th. A-Rod hit no. 598, a solo shot in the seventh to give the Yanks their ninth run.
Meanwhile, the bullpen continued to do its job. Chan Ho Park struck out B.J. Upton to start the sixth, finishing off his solid outing. He would also pick up his second win of the season. Boone Logan then came in, and besides a solo homer by Gabe Kapler, pitched pretty well over 1.2 innings.
Joba Chamberlain was the one reliever you could be disappointed with. He allowed three hits and a run over 1.2 innings and forced Girardi to bring Mariano Rivera in for the last batter in the ninth, a batter he needed just one pitch to retire. But overall it was a great day for the pen, in 6.2 innings, they allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out 8.
Really good win for the Yanks, whose backs were really against the wall early on. Still, it's never a good day in Yankeeland when they lose Pettitte for any amount of time, but a win is a win.
The Yanks are off today, before they begin a two-game series with the Angels on Tuesday in the Bronx. Phil Hughes will start for the Yanks, with the Angels starter still unknown. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. and the game will be on MY9.