Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano come up big as Yankees beat Blue Jays
Nick Swisher wasn't the least bit worried that Phil Hughes wouldn't get the job done Tuesday night, that he wouldn't pitch effectively enough to help the Yankees snap out of their mini funk.
"That's Hughsie man, you know?" Swisher said after the Yankees' 2-1 win over the Blue Jays at the Stadium. "I expect him to do that every time he goes out there. He's been here for a little bit now. He has a good idea of what he's trying to do.
"That was a big one because we needed a win tonight."
Rafael Soriano, who gave up a three-run homer in the ninth inning of the Yankees' loss Monday night, had no troubles Tuesday night with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 34th save.
Soriano, who struck out Adam Lind, got Yunel Escobar to ground out and blew away Yorvit Torrealba to end it, said he got a little unsolicited advice from Mariano Rivera in the clubhouse before the game. Rivera implored Soriano to use his fastball more and Soriano obliged.
"Mariano came to me today and he told me, 'Hey, go throw your fastball,' " he said. "After that, you can do whatever you want. But don't throw too many sliders because your best pitch right now is your fastball. Why do you have to throw too many sliders?"
Hughes didn't need any advice Tuesday night, throwing seven solid innings. The righthander yielded just one run on four hits, striking out five and walking three, doing what he could to aid in the Yankees picking themselves up off the canvas.
The lone run Hughes allowed came on Adeiny Hechavarria's homer in the fifth, the first of his career.
Nick Swisher's RBI single in the third and Curtis Granderson's fourth-inning sacrifice fly was all the offense the Yankees needed to edge the Blue Jays and give themselves a chance to take the three-game series with C.C. Sabathia on the mound in today's series finale.
"Bouncebacks are always important to me," manager Joe Girardi said. "Our club has done a really good job of doing that over the years, and understands that it's only one game and they don't carry it over."
David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth before Soriano closed out the win, only the Yankees' third in their last eight games.
The Yankees relied on some sparking defense in this one, too.
Hughes navigated his way out of a major jam in the sixth, in part because of a nifty play by Robinson Cano. After Lind just missed a three-run homer in the sixth, skying one to right that Andruw Jones gloved a step in front of the 314-foot marker on the rightfield wall, Cano turned in the play of the game.
Escobar hit a screeching line drive in Cano's direction and the Yankees second baseman showed off some hops, leaping into the air and snagging Escobar's hot shot. He then quickly fired to third base, easily nabbing a sliding Colby Rasmus by a couple of feet and shutting down the Blue Jays' threat.
The Yankees broke through off Ricky Romero in the third inning, putting runners on first and second when third baseman Hechavarria inexplicably looked at second base on Ichiro Suzuki's out-out grounder -- only to see he couldn't get lead runner Jayson Nix.
Romero got Derek Jeter to fly out to center, but Swisher came through with a clutch two-out hit, lacing a 2-and-2 pitch into centerfield and cashing in on Hechavarria's mental miscue.
It took a great diving stab by second baseman Mike McCoy on Cano's two-out grounder to keep the Yankees at bay.
"It's nice," Hughes said, "especially on a day when the other pitcher is tough. Ricky did a nice job. To be able to scratch out a win here is big, especially after a deflating loss or whatever you want to call it last night. A win that we should have had and we feel like we should have had the game. To come back here and win a tight one is a good feeling."