This one started out rather inauspiciously, as Ichiro Suzuki turned on Home Run Javier Vazquez‘s third pitch of the game and deposited it into the seats for a 1-0 lead before the Yankees could record an out. Two batters later Russell Branyan launched what may have been the longest home run in New Yankee Stadium history, hitting the first ball ever into the right field upper deck for a majestic blast and staking Seattle to a 2-0 lead.
This time though the Yankees would not be deterred by a couple of early runs, coming right back at Jason Vargas in the bottom of the first for four runs of their own, capped off by a Jorge Posada two-run home run. This was particularly notable given how little the Yankees were able to do against Vargas last time out. Vargas of course proceeded to settle down and pitch five scoreless frames before unraveling in the seventh inning.
Vazquez gave the Yankee lead right back in the third, serving up Ichiro’s second home run of the game and surrendering an RBI base hit to Casey Kotchman. Javy lasted just three innings, continuing a stretch of five straight outings in which he’s lasted less and less each time out. I thought Seattle’s woeful offense would be good for what ails Vazquez, but if he can’t get this poor of a lineup out his problems run deeper than even we realize.
If Javy is still suffering through a dead arm period then the team needs to figure out how to get him some extra rest down the line. Like it or not, the Yankees are likely going to need innings out of Vazquez come the postseason, as a three-man rotation can’t work this year, especially given Andy Pettitte‘s injury and A.J. Burnett‘s being A.J. Burnett. Perhaps the team can promote Ivan Nova for a spot start or two in September or surprise the ever-loving hell out of everyone and do something completely unexpected like letting Joba Chamberlain start. While I’d love to see the latter occur, there’s 0% chance of that happening, so don’t get your hopes up.
Chad Gaudin of all people gets a gold star for this game, pitching three innings of one-hit, shutout ball. The Yankees finally got to Vargas in the 7th, with one-out singles by Austin Kearns and Curtis Granderson bringing Eduardo Nunez up to the plate. Nunez promptly picked up his first career base hit and RBI in style, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead that they would never relinquish as they ultimately won 9-5. Robinson Cano had another two-hit day with two more RBI, and even Ramiro Pena drove a run in.
The two teams go back at it in the rubber game tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm as the Yankees get to send their best to the mound. There’s no excuse not to win with CC Sabathia toeing the rubber tomorrow.
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