In the end, it was just too big of a lead to overcome for the Yankees. After falling behind 7-1 in the top of the seventh inning Monday, the Yankees scored 5 runs over the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to cut the deficit to one. The Bombers pulled within one run with a man on first and two outs in the bottom of the ninth and new Yankee Eric Hinske at the plate.
Hinske was 2-4 on the day, homering in his second at-bat, giving him a great first hit for the Yankees. That ended Toronto starting pitcher Ricky Romero’s 24 inning scoreless streak. Hinske also singled in the seventh and was hit-by-pitch in the eighth before coming to the plate with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Facing Jason Frasor, Hinske got the count up to 3-1 before fouling off a check-swing and making the count full at 3-2. Hinske went down swinging on the next pitch, ending the Yankee comeback one run short.
The comeback had started in the seventh with a two-run single by Nick Swisher that scored Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner. Fast forward to the eighth with the bases loaded for Derek Jeter. Jeets earned a walk, scoring Robinson Cano, who was on third. (Jeter also had a rare argument with an umpire during the first inning)
Then, in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, Jorge Posada and Cano got the Yankees started with a single and a double respectively. Hideki Matsui came out as a pinch hitter and promptly singled to center, emptying the bases. Then Hinske came to the plate and fell one pitch short of a possible comeback.
Swisher was the Player of the Game for the Yankees Monday, going 3-4 with a walk and two RBI. Cano and Hinske get honorable mention. Cano was 2-5 at the plate and his hits came at the right time – he scored each time he got on base.
Andy Pettitte took the loss for the Yankees, allowing 5 hits and 6 ER in 6 innings raising his ERA to 4.53.
The Bombers go on a six game road trip before the All Star Break next week. They first head to Minnesota for a three-game set, the to LA to face the Angels over the weekend.