By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, September 20- A combination of outstanding pitching and timely hitting gave the Yankees a second victory on Wednesday. The 2-1 victory in the second of a day/night doubleheader on Wednesday allowed the Yanks to remain in first place in the American League East with 14 games remaining for the Bronx Bombers.
David Phelps hurled his lengthiest and most impressive start of 2012. He threw 110 pitches, 12 more his previous high of the season in 6.2 innings, a distance he had only reached once this year.
Two walks and an RBI single by Aderiny Hechevarria scored the only Toronto run in the game. Rajai Davis led off the third with a single, but was thrown out trying to steal. Phelps retired the next 12 batters before J.P. Arencibia reached first on a throwing error by Derek Jeter with one out in the sixth.
Although Pettitte pitched his expected maximum of five innings in game one, it took six relievers to complete the game. Thus, it was necessary to Phelps to carry the load in the second game. He stated, “I know I had to go out there and pitch deep into the game.”
Ichiro Suzuki showed his superior abilities are still intact. In the doubleheader he hit safely seven times, stole four bases and made a critical great catch in the first game with the bases loaded to preserve the Yankees 4-2 victory.
Suzuki went four for four in the nightcap. In the second, with Jayson Nix and Casey McGehee on base via walks, Ichiro singled to center, but Nix was thrown out trying to score.
In the eighth, with the game knotted at one, Ichiro got his fourth hit of the contest. The hit drove in Curtis Granderson with what proved to be the winning run.
After the game, the calm outfielder explained his feelings, “I came in the middle of the season; I wanted to contribute. Today was a great day. I was glad I was able to help.”
Of his fellow outfielder, Nick Swisher exclaimed, “I don’t think anybody could have got him out today.”
Another hero of the doubleheader was closer Rafael Soriano. The closer saved both games. In the opener, the save was a rare four out effort. Soriano has saved 42 games in 45 opportunities. Even more impressive is the fact that his first save did not come until May3, when Mariano Rivera was placed on the DL.
The Yankees will attempt to sweep the series on Thursday night with Phil Hughes (15-12) on the mound. Hughes will be opposed by Aaron Laffey (3-5).