WHAT IT MEANS: Ichiro to the rescue!
Ichiro Suzuki capped off a 7-for-8 day at the plate with a tie-breaking two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Yankees went on to sweep their doubleheader with Blue Jays, taking the nightcap, 2-1, Wednesday at the Stadium.
The 38-year-old left fielder followed up a 3-for-4, two runs scored afternoon by going 4-for-4 with a franchise-record tying four stolen bases in the evening. Two of the seven hits were doubles.
Prior to Ichiro’s big hit, the Yankees had gone 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. But after Curtis Granderson walked, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and stole third, Ichiro knocked him home with a looper to left. And Rafael Soriano closed out the ninth to record his 42nd save in 45 chances.
The Yankees (85-63) have now won four straight games and will hold onto first place in the AL East. The Orioles (84-64) face King Felix Hernandez late Wednesday night.
MR. 200: Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig for the most 200-hit seasons in Yankee history (eight) with a lined single up the middle leading off the game. Jeter now has a 13-game hitting streak. The Captain also made his first start at shortstop in a week and committed a throwing error in the seventh.
DAVID’S DOMINANCE: David Phelps did exactly what he was supposed to against Toronto’s injury-depleted lineup: he dominated. At one point, the 25-year-old right-hander retired 13 Blue Jays in a row prior to Jeter’s miscue. That’s when he ran into trouble -- loading the bases -- before Boone Logan bailed him out, getting pinch-hitter Moises Sierra to ground to second. Phelps’ final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO Phelps, who threw a career-high 110 pitches, has allowed just two runs in his past two starts.
BOO-ROD: Alex Rodriguez heard the Bronx jeers in the fifth and the seventh. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, failing to come through with runners in scoring position in his first three at-bats.
TOUGH LUCK: Ricky Romero came in 0-13 with a 7.91 ERA in his last 14 starts. He was quite good at working into and then out of trouble on Wednesday night -- 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 SO -- but had to settle for a no-decision.