NEW YORK -- Fresh off his Gatorade bath following the first game-ending hit of his career, the always stoic Jayson Nix explained why this Yankees team is suddenly making a run for the playoffs.
"I feel like we have a little bit of a jolt to our team," Nix said. "We are playing really, really well."
The Yankees have won eight of their past 10 after sweeping Tuesday's doubleheader with a 3-2 ninth-inning walk-off win in the nightcap. The Yankees are seven games out in the AL East and 5 1/2 in the wild card, but have moved just a game behind the Orioles for third in the East.
Where has the jolt come from?
"I think [Alfonso Soriano] coming over here first off, he brings a lot of good energy to the team," Nix said. "He has done great and played great for us the last week especially. And then [Alex Rodriguez] playing good. As a whole we are playing a lot better and I think we all feel better for this final push."
With Rodriguez and Soriano struggling Wednesday night (0-for-7 combined, including three A-Rod K's and an inning-ending double play in the eighth), Nix sent the 37,190 in attendance home happy. In the seventh, with the Yankees down a run, Nix went yard for his third home run of the season to tie the game at two.
In the ninth, pinch runner Ichiro Suzuki moved to second on a sacrifice and reached third on a steal.
"It makes my job a lot easier," Nix said of Ichiro advancing to third.
Nix smacked a single to left for the winner. During his postgame, on-field interview with YES's Jack Curry, Brett Gardner sneaked behind the duo and acted like LT on Bill Parcells. The quick-moving Curry got nailed with only a few drops of the sports drink, while Nix took a bath. At this point in the season with just 37 games to go, Nix knows how important days like Tuesday have become.
"We talked about it a few weeks ago, we are in the playoffs now," Nix said. "We need to win all these games."
JETER REPORT: Joe Girardi said that everything went well with Derek Jeter's simulated game. Jeter, trying to return from his calf injury, ran the bases on Tuesday for the first time. On Wednesday, he will work out, but not play in a game. The Yankees have not said when he could return to the majors.
SILENT-ROD: Rodriguez did not speak to reporters on Wednesday.