What it means: That just when you thought you'd seen the worst night of the Yankees' season, you learn you haven't. The Yankees won this one, barely -- Rafael Soriano surrendered a leadoff homer in the ninth to make it a one-run game -- but possibly lost their heart, soul and Captain to an ankle injury late in the game. Plus, with the Orioles winning again -- a 3-2 walk-off over the Rays -- the pressure on the Yankees never seems to let up in this relentless American League East race.
Captain Crutch? Derek Jeter apparently injured his already-sore ankle running out his inning-ending double play in the eighth inning, and left the game under prodding from Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue. More details after the game.
David Helps: Six days after wilting under the pressure of a game for first place in Baltimore, David Phelps rebounded with a solid performance, holding the Red Sox hitless for 3 1/3 innings, and allowing five hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings. Phelps helped his own cause with a terrific fifth inning, surviving a leadoff triple by Jarrod Saltalamacchia by sandwiching strikeouts of Daniel Nava and Jose Iglesias around a popout by Scott Podsednik.
The Grandy Man Can-Can: Curtis Granderson belted No. 36, a line shot into the distant right center field bullpen, leading off the fourth to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Three innings later, he added No. 37, almost to the same spot but even a little farther. Incredibly, it was only Granderson's second multi-HR game of the season.
Personal Best: Two batters later, Robinson Cano followed with his 30th, a career high, an opposite-field shot that cleared the Green Monster with Alex Rodriguez aboard to make it 3-0 Yankees. Cano's previous high was 29 in 2010.
Say Hey! Jeter pulled to within one hit of tying Willie Mays for 10th on baseball's all-time hit list with two singles. Jeter now has 3,282 career hits. He also passed former NY Giants great Mel Ott for 12th place on the all-time runs list with 1,860.
Recurring Nightmare: After being held hitless for the first two innings, the Yankees got a leadoff double from Eric Chavez in the third -- and then a groundout from Ichiro Suzuki, a flyout from Chris Stewart and a strikeout from Jeter to start the nightly RISP roll. In the fifth inning, the Yankees got Jeter to second with one out but no further when A-Rod flied out and Cano was retired on a spectacular play by SS Iglesias. And in the sixth, Nick Swisher led off with a double, only to die at second after a strikeout by PH Jayson Nix, a groundout by Suzuki and a flyout by Stewart. Despite their RISP futility -- 0-for-10 through six innings -- the Yankees held a 3-1 lead thanks to the long ball. What else?
Don't Blink: Clay Rapada's appearance in the game was brief -- coming in to relieve Phelps, he threw one pitch and got one out -- but it was key, since the one out was a line shot right at Swisher to end the sixth inning with a runner on base.
Yes, Blink: Boone Logan, on the other hand, also threw just one pitch -- but it was smacked high off the left center field fence by Nava, who missed a two-run HR by about 18 inches.
Yer Outta Here: And take your buddies with you. Plate umpire Alfonso Marquez ejected Cody Ross for vociferously arguing a called third strike from Soriano to end the eighth, and then tossed Bobby Valentine, who came out, argued, went back and came back for more. Marquez also bounced 3B coach Jerry Royster for good measure. For Valentine, it was a high point of his stormy tenure in Boston -- his sixth ejection of the season is the most by any manager in Red Sox history. And not for nothing, Ross was right. The pitch was low and away.
Long Trip: The time of the game was 3 hours, 43 minutes -- or two minutes less than it took me to drive from my home on Long Island to Boston on Tuesday.