- Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com
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TORONTO -- When Joe Girardi said the New York Yankees offense might have to manufacture some runs this season, I doubt this is what he had in mind.
Still, he and the Yankees will take the two runs the Toronto Blue Jays handed them in the 11th inning on Saturday to provide the difference in the Yankees' 5-3 win at the Rogers Centre.
After getting nearly flawless starting pitching from Hiroki Kuroda, and what looked like just enough offense out of Vernon Wells (home run) and Kevin Youkilis (two-run single), the Yankees needed some luck to pull this one out after the normally reliable David Robertson imploded in the eighth inning.
What happened was a confluence of events -- singles by Wells and Francisco Cervelli to start the 11th, a good bunt by Ichiro Suzuki and a bad decision by Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup, who chose to throw the ball to third to get the lead runner -- only there was no one to take the throw since third baseman Brett Lawrie had charged on the play. All of that combined to give the Yankees two unearned runs that turned out to be the game winners.
"I was shocked," Wells said of Loup's decision. "But you know what? You get in the moment, and you make an aggressive play like that, and sometimes it works out. You look great when it works out, and bad when you don't."
Robertson, watching from the dugout, thought that Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia had signaled for Loup to go to third.
"That’s a tough play," Girardi said. "But our guys are seizing opportunities, and you have to do that in the game of baseball."
The fact is, the Yankees got more than one break on Saturday, and Lawrie figured into both of them. In the fifth inning, Youkilis lined a ball seemingly right at him, only to see it sail into left field for a two-run single. Girardi thought Lawrie might have lost the ball in the sea of white shirts in the stands behind home plate.
"He said it knuckled or something," Youkilis said. "I don’t know. I was ready to run to the dugout and break my helmet if they caught another ball like that."
Those two plays accounted for four of the Yankees' five runs and prevented what might have been a dispiriting loss after Robertson's two-thirds of an inning, in which he was charged with two runs and allowed a third inherited runner to score.
"It was really nice," Robertson said of the improbable comeback. "I was pretty low there coming out of that game. I can smile about it now, but I was pretty angry with myself earlier."