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Soriano, Huff come through in the clutch

NEW YORK -- Alfonso Soriano joined the New York Yankees less than a month ago. David Huff was called up just six days ago.

That unlikely duo led the Yankees to a dramatic win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Huff entered the game in the fourth inning, with the score knotted at 2-2, and pitched five scoreless frames. And Soriano finally broke the tie with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, propelling the Yankees to a 4-2 victory.

Soriano was 0-for-2 with a walk in his first three at-bats against Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. But following a two-out single by Robinson Cano, he drilled an 0-1 pitch into the left-field seats.

"I like to hit knuckleballss. But [Dickey's] a little different, because he throws a knuckleball, but he throws a hard one," Soriano said. "It took me two, three at-bats to get comfortable, and finally I got one."

Soriano was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday after going 15-for-31 (.484 BA) with five homers and 18 RBIs in a seven-game stretch. But he'd gone ice-cold after that, enduring an 0-for-17 slide before the game-winning homer.

"He was due," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "As hot as he had been, he was due."

Huff was claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Indians back on May 25, made one relief appearance for the Yankees a day later, and then was sent down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The lefty remained there until last Thursday, when the Yankees recalled him to replace Dellin Betances on the roster.

He'd made one appearance since, pitching a third of an inning against the Red Sox on Friday. Huff doesn't even have a nameplate over his locker in the Yankees' clubhouse yet.

"I've had a few nights off, so they said we're gonna use you in length tonight," Huff said. "I was just ready to pitch, I was ready for it."

The Yankees needed length because long reliever Adam Warren made a spot start Wednesday, with the team coming off a doubleheader Tuesday. Warren got through three innings, but was removed after giving up a home run followed by a hit batsman to start the fourth.

Huff allowed just one hit -- an infield single by Brett Lawrie -- in innings four through eight, before giving way to Mariano Rivera. He did have four walks (one intentional), but it was still a mighty impressive performance by the 28-year-old, a former first-round pick by Cleveland, with a career record of 18-26 in the majors.

"We've had to use our bullpen a lot, so it was really important," Girardi said. "Three or four guys got a night off, which is important moving forward. Just an outstanding performance by Huff."

The biggest story of the night in the Bronx was Ichiro Suzuki collecting career hit No. 4,000, back in the first inning. But Soriano and Huff are the biggest reasons why the Yankees are now within four games in the wild-card chase.

Soriano -- who now has nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 24 games with the Yankees -- will undoubtedly play a major role down the stretch. Huff probably will not.

But for one night in August, they were the perfect combination.