Bronx, NY—For the eighth consecutive game, the Yankees on Wednesday night did not score more than three runs. Their much discussed lack of hitting did not prevent them from defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of the Yankees final homestand of the 2014 season.
The win was an exciting surprise for the 34,729 fans present. With the score knotted at 2, the Yankees came to bat in the bottom of the ninth frame. Chris Young, who joined the Yanks on September 2 continued his impressive hitting as a Yankee with a single to center to lead-off. Young, who barely batted above .200 as a Met this year, is batting .316 (12 for 38) in pinstripes.
Antoan Richardson, who was called up to the Yanks on the same date that Young began his service with the team, entered the game to pinch run for Young. The speedster promptly stole second, his fifth steal in five attempts. Although the 30 year-old has been given few at bats, his batting average is .444 (4 for 9).
The next batter, Brett Gardner, bunted with two strikes to advance Richardson to third. After the contest, Yankee skipper Joe Girardi was asked if he gave the sign to Gardner. He replied, “No, it was his call.”
The following batter, Chase Headley, hit a hard ground ball that went through the hands and legs of the Blue Jay first baseman, Adam Lind, to end the contest in favor of the Yankees, 3-2. The walk-off win was the eighth this season for the Yanks and third that was engineered with Headley at bat.
Girardi had words of praise for both Richardson and Headley. Of the rookie on base, he credited, “He puts a lot of pressure on the defense.” When told this by a reporter, Richardson spoke of the work done by Young, Gardner and Headley. After many years in the minors, he is gratified to have an opportunity with the Yankees, “Anytime you contribute it feels good. You feel a part of the team once you contribute.”
Headley has been making contributions since being traded from San Diego on July 22. Girardi expounded a litany of praise directed toward Headley, “He has a grind it out approach. He is a very tough kid who wants to win, [and] a great fielder. He’s been a great addition.” Those words make it sound as Headley will be with the Yankees again next year.
Rookie Shawn Greene held the Blue Jays scoreless for 6.2 innings before being removed for reliever Dellin Betances. He allowed only three scattered singles and walked two batters in his high quality start. Yankee captain Derek Jeter remarked of the youngster, “He gets more and more confidence and more and more relaxed.”
Girardi explained a reason for that confidence, “He has four pitches that he can go to and he has the ability to throw strikes.”
The Yankees scored two runs off veteran knuckleball pitcher R. A. Dickey in his six inning stint. In the fifth, a two-out walk to Headley that was followed by a Stephen Drew double scored the first run of the game.
To the delight of everyone in the park, Jeter hit his first Yankee Stadium home run of the year in the sixth. He had not homered in his last 158 at bats. Jeter was reluctant to speak of the home run or his feelings toward the end of his career. He said, “I’m happy because we won a game.”
A two-run homer by Jose Bautista off Shawn Kelley with two out and an 0-2 count tied the score in the eighth. The slugger has homered in his last four games against the Yankees.