HRs by Brennan Boesch, Lyle Overbay give Yanks four-game sweep of Jays
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On Saturday, it was one scrap-heap pickup, Travis Hafner, leading the way.
On Sunday, two more late acquisitions, Lyle Overbay and Brennan Boesch, continued what has been a theme this season.
Despite a roster that appears to be constructed with a baseball version of baling wire and duct tape, the Yankees won again, with Boesch and Overbay hitting home runs in a 3-2 victory over the free-falling Blue Jays in front of 36,872 at the Stadium.
The victory gave the Yankees (15-9) a four-game sweep over the Blue Jays (9-17), just about everyone's preseason favorite to win the AL East title.
"We knew what these guys could do, whether it be Hafner, Overbay or [Vernon Wells]," said Phil Hughes, who contributed his third straight strong start, allowing two runs and seven hits with nine strikeouts in six innings. "They're good hitters, that's the bottom line. We felt like if we pitched well, we were going to get big contributions from somebody, and that's been the case early on."
Overbay, signed by the Yankees the same day he was released by the Red Sox (March 26), has called everything since then a "whirlwind."
That continued Sunday as the 36-year-old, who has given the Yankees a solid glove at first base as they wait for injured Mark Teixeira to return, provided another critical hit. His two-run homer off R.A. Dickey with two outs in the seventh inning erased a 2-1 deficit.
"I've enjoyed it. This is awesome," said Overbay, who went 2-for-3 against Dickey after entering the game 1-for-14 against the knuckleballer. "This is a dream come true to play for the New York Yankees. The opportunity I'm getting, I can't think of anything better."
Overbay's homer -- which was caught on a fly by a smiling David Robertson in the Yankees' bullpen -- drove in Hafner, who led off the inning with a single.
Hafner's three-run homer and RBI triple helped lead the Yankees to victory on Saturday.
"It's a group that has something to prove in the sense there's some guys that are older, that had some down or injury-plagued years," Joe Girardi said. "They've made it work."
Pitching, as Hughes mentioned, has been just as critical in the Yankees' 14-5 record since a 1-4 start. Entering Sunday, the Yankees had posted a 3.18 ERA in that resurgent stretch, the third-best mark in the American League. They're 9-1 in games decided by two or fewer runs and 4-0 in one-run games.
"They've been outstanding," Overbay said of the pitching staff. "And our bullpen has been a savior. You give them a lead and they just shut it down."
That again was the case Sunday. Hughes, who held the opposition to two earned runs for a third consecutive outing but has no wins to show for it, left trailing 2-1 after the sixth.
For the most part, the Yankees struggled against Dickey (2-4), who allowed four hits and a walk in seven innings. Before Overbay's blast, their only run was a solo homer in the second inning by Boesch, another spare part added for outfield depth on March 15 after he was released by the Tigers.
"Playing against them [the Yankees] the last couple of years, a lot of their strength has been the depth of their team, guys who don't play every day coming off the bench and getting big hits," Boesch said. "I think everybody in this clubhouse wants to be contributing, and when you have that contribution from other guys . . . it helps you win a lot of ballgames."