Every win is big, but Tuesday’s come-from-behind 6-4 victory was huge.
Hiroki Kuroda was looking to bounce back from three straight sub-par outings and secure the series win over the Chicago White Sox. After allowing a run in the first, Kuroda settled down until the 5th. He allowed two more in the frame, putting the bombers down 3-1 nothing. Kuroda went 6 1/3 innings, giving up all 4 runs, while striking out 7 along the way. It was a step in the right direction for the Yankees best pitcher the first 4 months of the season.
Sox starter and CY Young candidate Chris Sale didn’t make things easy on the bombers, allowing just 1 run over his first 7 innings. Sale went back out for the eighth, and things changed. He recorded one out but was taken out with 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd. The bullpen didn’t do its job.
Alfonso Soriano singled in two off Sox reliever Nate Jones, then Curtis Granderson singled to tie the game at 4-4. After Mark Reynolds struck out and Chicago made another pitching change, Eduardo Nunez came to bat with two on and two out. And he wouldn’t disappoint, delivering the go-ahead two-run double scoring Granderson and Alex Rodriguez.
Mariano Rivera came in to shut the door, and needing just 13 pitches to do so. It was Rivera’s 40th of the season.
Every team in front of the Yankees lost on Tuesday meaning they were able to once again leapfrog the Orioles, putting them in third place in both the AL East and Wild Card chase. They also gained a game on both the Athletics and Rays who hold the two Wild Card spots (Texas is tied with Oakland after beating them), putting them just 2.5 games back.
With just 25 games remaining in the regular season, the Yankees now look to complete the sweep of the pale sox and get CC Sabathia back on track for the home stretch.
*** other news and notes
Another milestone for the captain Derek Jeter, who passed Eddie Collins for sole possession of 9th place on baseball’s all-time hits list. The Captain has been been slumping of late, but picked up two hits, giving him 3,315 in his career.
Phil Hughes is a starter no more. Manager Joe Girardi announced that Hughes and his 4-13 record are finally moving to the pen. Hughes was a huge part of the Yankees pen run to the 2009 Championship. Taking his place in the rotation will be David Huff, who has picked up two wins since being called in up long relief.
Reliever Preston Claiborne was recalled from Triple-A.