On a very special 4th of July for the New York Yankees, it was only fitting that they emerged victorious over the Blue Jays.
The day started off with spectacular news involving the All Star team selections. Everyone knew it was destined to happen, but the Yankees will take their double play tandem out to Anaheim for the July 13th showdown. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano were among the top 4 vote receivers and will be starting for the AL team. Alex Rodriguez was selected as a backup 3rd baseman (although his numbers now rival Longoria’s). Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia, and Mariano Rivera were all selected as All Stars as well. However, with CC slated to pitch next Sunday, he will be ineligible to pitch during the Mid-Summer Classic. Who will most likely take his place? Andy Pettitte.
Today was also the 80th birthday of George Steinbrenner. The Yankees set up their World Series trophies from 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 outside the Yankee Museum at the stadium to show how successful the franchise has been under his ownership. Happy Birthday George!
Despite all the great news, there was still a baseball game to play. Today was the rubber game of the series between the Blue Jays and the Yankees. The two young hurlers Brandon Morrow (5-6) and Phil Hughes (10-2) faced off today to start the games.
The action began in the top of the 3rd when Lyle Overbay hit a mammoth 433 ft. shot into Monument Park to give the Jays a 1-0 lead. Hughes would go on to shut down the rest of the lineup that inning.
Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the 3rd inning with a single into leftfield. Ramiro Pena would reach on an infield single and Derek Jeter would advance the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Nick Swisher, who still remains hopeful for an All Star game appearance, popped out to left before Mark Teixeira had a sac-fly to score Gardner and tie the game. Alex Rodriguez would gather his 62nd RBI of the year with a basehit to left to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Pena would single him Curtis Granderson an inning later to extend the lead to 3-1.
Then the fireworks really began. After retiring the first 2 batters in the top of the 5th, Jason McDonald would single, advance to 2nd on a wild pitch, and then Fred Lewis would walk to give Toronto 1st and 2nd with 2 out. Dewayne Wise, who hadn’t homered since August 6th of last year, drilled a 3-run homer into rightfield to give the Jays a 4-3 edge.
The bottom of the 5th was an embarrassment. After a single to open the inning by Swisher, Teixeira would double and Swish was gunned down at the plate. Rodriguez flew out to center and then Teixeira was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Adam Lind would homer off Hughes for Toronto’s 3rd homer of the day and their MLB-leading 122nd of the year. Hughes would retire the side and last only 6 innings.
Jorge Posada singled with an out in the 6th and Brett Gardner hit an inside the park home run after Dewayne Wise lost the ball in the sun to tie the game at 5-5. After a solid inning of relief by Damaso Marte, Teixeira would tack on the leading run with an RBI double in the 7th to put the Bombers up 6-5.
Joba Chamberlain had a clean 8th inning to turn the ball over to Mariano Rivera with a 1 run lead in the 9th. Rivera hadn’t blown a July save since 2004, and today would be an exception. Dewayne Wise’s RBI single tied the game at 6-6.
The Yankees came up in the bottom of the 10th after David Robertson, who was saved by a heads-up play by A-Rod, held the game together in the top half of the inning. Robinson Cano walked and we all know that lead off walks come back to hurt. Francisco Cervelli laid down a successful sacrifice bunt and Marcus Thames, fresh off his minor league recovery stint pinch-hitting for Ramiro Pena with 2 outs, singled into left-center to give the Yankees a 7-6 walk-off win and send Toronto back to Canada. The walk-off is the 2nd of the year for New York (Thames hit a walk-off off Papelbon in May). Pie was on order to top off a magnificent 4th of July celebration!