Yanks head to Oakland after rain shortened game and sweep of Blue Jays
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, July 19- This time claps of thunder, lightning, and rain stopped a New York Yankees game in the Bronx Wednesday afternoon. Their offense also continued to excel before the weather caused a rain shortened 6-0 win and sweep over the Toronto Blue Jays after six innings.
With threatening weather in the forecast, the game was delayed 51 minutes. However, in a season where the Yankees seem to be hitting the ball all over the place, delays don’t seem to matter.
New York got on the scoreboard early when Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run, his 19th, in a four-run first inning off Toronto starter and loser Ricky Romero (8-6) who lost his fifth straight, a career low.
The inning started when Derek Jeter, inserted as the designated hitter, led off with a double. There were four extra base hits that included two straight doubles from Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano. The hit from Cano extended his career best hitting streak to 21 games.
“You got to get contributions from everyone,” said Jeter who went 2 for 3. It was the Yankees third straight win, nine in their last 11, a season-high 23 games over .500.
And the Yankees continue to get those contributions with guys off the bench. It enables manager Joe Girardi to give his starters some rest, in particular, during this 13-game stretch that continues Thursday night with three games in Oakland and three at Seattle.
DeWayne Wise had an RBI double in the fourth inning off Romero and a run scoring single in the sixth. He gave Curtis Granderson a day of rest out in center as once again the strategy, Girardi getting the best from his bench, worked to perfection.
“It’s been really special what these guys have done for us, you kinda’ want to talk about giving some other guys off during this run of 13- games,” commented Girardi about how Wise, Jayson Nix with two hits, and Eric Chavez have contributed off the bench.
That gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead. They added another run in the sixth and the weather got worse. The tarp came on the field, and after a delay of 58 minutes the Yankees packed and went to Oakland also propelling Hiroki Kuroda (9-7) to his third career complete game victory.
“His slider was good, he kept away from getting the first hitter on and made some good pitches,” said Girardi about Kuroda.
In his last start Kuroda gave up five runs, 11 in his last two starts. But he bounced back tossing seven shutout innings, limited the Jays to four hits, no walks and striking out five. Though it was a shortened game, the outing by Kuroda leads to more encouragement.
With Kuroda bouncing back, CC Sabathia healthy after missing two starts, and with Andy Pettitte recovering well from a broken ankle, Girardi has to be pleased.
“Pitching is the one constant that you have to have to win on a daily basis and we’ve been getting that,” said Girardi. New York has also scored three runs in 42 consecutive games.
“I think our guys set the tone early,” said Girardi about how his team tacked on runs, off Romero, a pitcher that has given the Yankees problems in the past.
The Yankees have pitched well, swung the bats, and tacked on runs late. That also had led to them widening their gap on first place in the American League east. Girardi alluded to those factors in taking five of six games on the home stand from the Angels and Blue Jays,
Now they hit the road with right hander Freddie Garcia (4-2), who won his last start Saturday against the Angels, getting the start against Oakland.
“It’s a lot of fun coming to the ballpark every day,” said Nick Swisher.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com