- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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New York Yankees
Friday night proved to be a case of simple mathematics for Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner.
"Gardy drove in two. He scored one. And he probably saved two or three himself," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You look at the game, that's the difference."
The Yankees left fielder's all-around excellent night propelled the Yankees in their 3-2 win against the Blue Jays. Gardner smacked a two-run home run and made several fantastic defensive plays that prevented runs early in the game.
"It was good, not just for me but for the team," Gardner said. "(We're) Coming off a good series in Boston and we've been playing pretty well. We fell down early today but (Ivan) Nova did a great job and kept us in it and we were able to get just enough for him."
While Nova stole the show by winning his 11th straight decision, Gardner proved to be the difference-maker in the game. He made a nice running play to catch a hard-hit ball for the first out of the game and then turned in perhaps the best defensive play in a game full of defensive gems.
With Toronto leading 2-0 and a man on first, Adam Lind rocketed a ball toward the left field line and Gardner, racing to his right, extended out and dove and caught the ball for the second out. Gardner's catch became a double play as base runner Jose Bautista was already past second and well on his way to scoring when Gardner caught the ball. The Yankees easily doubled him up.
"Gardy really saved the game in the first inning because it very well could have been four runs and a runner on second and still one out," Girardi said.
At the plate, Gardner set a new career-high with his sixth home run. With the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the third, Gardner planted a pitch from Brandon Morrow just barely over the right field wall for a two-run homer that tied the game at 2-2.
It was a much-needed hit for the speedster, who had been in a 2-for-20 funk entering the game. He finished 1-for-3 on the night with two RBIs, a run scored and his 39th stolen base of the season.
"I thought it had a chance to go, I wasn't sure to be honest, I thought it was going to be off the wall, it was a pretty low line drive and just barely high enough, thanks goodness," Gardner said of his home run.