Ichiro, Nix combine to complete twin bill sweep
The Yankees’ comeback Tuesday night came too late for Phil Hughes to get a winning decision, but at least he was not saddled with another loss. Hughes remained winless in eight starts since July 2, but thanks to Jayson Nix the Yankees pulled out a victory, which they have done quite regularly against the Blue Jays this year.
The 3-2 victory Tuesday night completed a split-admission, doubleheader sweep by the Yanks, who are now 10-1 against Toronto this season. Nix, who had a terrific doubleheader against his old team, was responsible for both the tying and winning runs in the night game. His home run with two out in the eighth off lefthander Aaron Loup made the score 2-2 and his single in the ninth marked the first walk-off hit of Nix’s career.
Ichiro Suzuki played a major role in manufacturing the Yankees’ winning run. After going 2-for-5 in the afternoon game, Ichiro was on the bench for the night game. He was called on to pinch run for Mark Reynolds, who drew a leadoff walk from lefthander Darren Oliver. Eduardo Nunez bunted Ichiro to second base and from there he took charge by stealing third base. Suzuki took advantage of a new catcher in the game, Josh Thole, for the surprise element, although Thole did make a good throw to third that was not handled by Brett Lawrie. Nix followed with a line drive into left field to send everybody home.
Nix played for the Blue Jays in 2011 before signing with the Yankees the next year. In the past two seasons, the utility infielder has batted .333 with seven runs, five doubles, one home run, seven RBI and four stolen bases in 66 at-bats against the Jays. He had 2-for-4 in the day game with a stolen base and two runs scored and also played an exceptional game at shortstop. In the night game, Nix played third base as Alex Rodriguez was the designated hitter.
Hughes pitched one batter into the seventh inning and allowed two runs, seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He hurt himself with a wild pitch in the first inning that accounted for the Blue Jays’ first run. Munenori Kawasaki whacked a triple off a soft slider from Hughes in the fifth and scored on a sacrifice fly that gave Toronto a 2-1 lead and threatened to drop Hughes’ season record to 4-13.
But that was before Nix and Suzuki came to his rescue. The winning decision went to Mariano Rivera (4-2), who withstood two singles to pitch a scoreless ninth inning.