The Yankees took a 6-2 lead into the seventh inning yesterday afternoon. Robinson Cano and Ivan Rodriguez had delivered consecutive solo home runs in the fourth to break a 2-2 tie, and Hideki Matsui had delivered a two-run double with the bases loaded in the fifth, all four runs coming with two outs in their respective innings. Darrell Rasner was cruising, having thrown just 67 pitches through six innings, 52 of them strikes.
Adam Lind singled on Rasner’s first pitch of the seventh. Lyle Overbay then hit what looked like an easy double play ball to second base, but rather than side-arm the ball to Derek Jeter for the pivot, Robinson Cano tried a back-handed flip from a bit too far away. The ball dove and skipped past Jeter and both runners were safe. Jose Bautista, who was 0-for-August entering that inning, capitalized by singling Lind home. Rasner then walked Gregg Zaun to load the bases and got the hook in favor of Brian Bruney, a pitcher more capable of a much-needed strikeout. Bruney delivered exactly that, striking out rookie Travis Snider, but Joe Inglett followed with a single that plated Overbay and Bautista to bring the Jays within one run. After Brandon League struck out the heart of the Yankee order in the seventh, the Jays got back to work against Bruney, Damaso Marte, and Edwar Ramirez in the eighth, tying the game on singles by Vernon Wells (off Bruney) Adam Lind (off Marte), and Bautista (off Ramirez), and taking the lead when Gregg Zaun just barely beat out a double-play relay on a dribbler to the left side on which Alex Rodriguez made a nice play.
Facing Scott Downs in the eighth, the Yankees put a runner in scoring position with two outs on an Ivan Rodriguez infield single and a stolen base by pinch-runner Brett Gardner, but Johnny Damon grounded out to strand Gardner. Facing B.J. Ryan in the ninth, the Yankees mounted a bigger threat when Derek Jeter led off with a single and Bobby Abreu followed with a walk to bring Alex Rodriguez to the plate. Rodriguez, who had driven in the first run of the game in the first, worked the count full, then ripped the payoff pitch hard down the third base line, but that man Bautista made a slick play on the ball, raced to third to force out Jeter, and fired across the diamond to get Rodriguez by inches (the total distance by which Zaun was safe and Rodriguez was out couldn’t have added up to more than a foot). With that double play, the rally was reduced to Abreu on second with two outs and Cody Ransom, who had come in as a defensive replacement for Giambi in the eighth with the Yankees still leading by a run, at the plate. Ransom swung at the first pitch he saw and flew out to left to end the game and hand the Yankees a painful 7-6 loss.
Today they face Roy Halladay.