Bronx, NY – Brett Gardner hit his first career grand slam in the bottom of the third inning to help lead the New York Yankees (48-31) to an 11-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays (41-40) at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
To show how crazy the game of baseball can be the Yankees had bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning yesterday and could not capitalize. Today though it was key hits by Gardner and Teixeira that turned the tide and helped starter Andy Pettitte get the 10th win of the season, as he joins C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes in the trio of Yankee starters with 10 wins. In his 391st career start as a Yankee Pettitte pitched well allowing three earned runs in six innings pitched, giving up five hits, one walk, and two home runs while striking out four batters.
“I am glad that I am healthy and able to contribute to the success of this team,” Pettitte said after the game. “We have a really good pitching staff and to see our guys put some big runs for us was awesome.”
Yankee Manager Joe Girardi said of his starter’s performance “Andy has been huge for us this year, to be as consistent in what he does along with the success he has had for the team throughout the year’s shows what an amazing pitcher Andy really is.”
Blue Jay starter Ricky Romero (6-5) had the shakiest start of his young career allowing eight earned runs in two and two-thirds innings pitched, giving up seven hits, two walks, one home run and one hit batsman while striking out three.
“I haven’t seen Ricky that off in a long time.” Blue Jays manager Cite Gaston said. “I think that he’s had two bad games this season and today was one of them.” Gaston continued by saying, “He wasn’t throwing any strikes and his location was off. Any time you have that combination it usually will not turn out well.”
Toronto plated the first run in the top of the first inning as Nick Green laced a lead-off single to left field. One batter latter Jose Bautista lifted a home run (21) over the center field wall. The homer for Bautista was his first since a two home run game on June 22 versus St. Louis.
Romero was cruising for the Blue Jays until a thirty-seven minute offensive inning by the Yankees took the young lefty off the mound. Key hits by Mark Teixeira who hit a double (16) to left field, Cano and Granderson set up the inning for Gardner, who hit a 3-2 pitch over the right field fence for the fourth home run of his career. Toronto manager Cite Gaston called on relief pitcher Brian Talbot to try to stop the bleeding, but he could not do so as he gave up three consecutive walks to Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira, which would set the stage for Alex Rodriguez who placed a fly ball to center field, which was dropped by outfielder Josh McDonald. The play was scored as a double (20) and plated three runs, which would make the score 11-2 for the Yankees.
“I have never hit a grand slam before on any level,” Gardner told the press of his big hit after the game. “I have hit many homers in my life, we have been really struggling to score runs lately to it was nice to have a big inning like that.”
Nick Swisher said of his teammate’s performance today “The combination of the pitching staff and our offense today showed how baseball can really be a complete team effort. You go out and give it everything you got and when you got a guy like Romero on the ropes you have got to take advantage.”
The final run for the Blue Jays came in the top of the sixth inning as Alex Gonzalez hit a home run (15) to left center field. The Bullpen came through for manager Joe Girardi today as Dustin Moseley made his Yankee debut today. Moseley came in and got his first two strike outs as well as some key ground balls, along with breaking some bats along the way. Reliever Chan Ho Park also had a solid outing getting three fly balls to the center fielder.
“I was just trying to throw strikes,” Moseley said of his debut. “I was just trying to get the ground balls and to be able to get the strike outs was great.”
On Sunday the two teams square off for the rubber match as the Yankees hope to celebrate the Fourth of July as well as George Steinbrenner’s birthday with a win. The Yankees will send out Phil Hughes (10-2, 3.58) to take on Brandon Morrow (5-6, 4.50 ERA)
Birthday Notes: Happy Birthday this weekend to Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman who celebrated his birthday today, while tomorrow the Yankees will celebrate “The Boss” George Steinbrenner III birthday along with the Birthday of America.