Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Jorge Posada hit a grand slam in the first inning last night in Toronto and the Yankees looked like could just cruise to a win. But they didn't score another run until Gary Sheffield's RBI single in the ninth inning. Javier Vazquez continued to look better, but he wasn't stellar and the Jays slowly crept their way back into contest. Vazquez couldn't get through seven innings, which forced the hardest-working men in showbiz, Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera to work again. Quantrill tweaked his right knee, but Tom Gordon got the game to Rivera in the ninth with the Yankees holding a 5-3 lead.
But Rivera allowed a two-out single that tied the game (3-1 fastball over the heart of the plate), blowing his second game in his last two chances. However, the Yankees added a run in the top of the tenth (Tony Clark's RBI double was almost run down in center field by Vernon Wells), and Rivera worked another inning (this time, 1-2-3) for the win.
The Yankees remain seven-and-a-half ahead of Boston who pounded the Orioles, 12-5. Jason Giambi is headed back to New York today for more medical testing.
El Duque pitches tonight against Ted Lilly. At some point the Yankees are going to need to spell Quantrill, Gordon and Rivera; they need the starting staff to give them some length. Is it too much to ask Hernandez--who pitched brilliantly against the Jays in New York last Thursday--to be that man? Perhaps. Kevin Brown could return this weekend, and of course, the $64,000 question around baseball for the next several days is: Where will Randy Johnson land when it is all said and done? The Yankees are in the running, but it remains to be seen if they can pull a deal off.
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