Yankees sweep doubleheader with walk-off win in the ninth
Alex Rodriguez spent most of Tuesday flailing at pitches and hearing it from the crowd when he did so.
He stepped up to the plate with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and was greeted with a decent-sized ovation from the 37,190 fans.
Those fans were hoping for a big hit — something to drive in Robinson Cano home from second.
The applause did not continue as Rodriguez ended the eighth by rapping into a double play, leaving the fans waiting for another inning to see the Yankees do something.
Fortunately for the Yankees, Rodriguez’s poor swings did not cost them as they completed a doubleheader sweep of the Blue Jays with a 3-2 victory decided on a one-out single by Jayson Nix in the ninth inning.
The best swings for the Yankees Tuesday night came from Austin Romine and Jayson Nix, who combined for four hits. Romine had his second career three-hit night while Nix had the game-tying home run and the game-winning hit
It was the first game-ending hit for Nix but more importantly it was New York’s third straight win and seventh in nine games.
“It’s a good day,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We win the first one, some three-run homers, and then we win today with a big homer by Nixy to tie it up and then the game-winning hit.”
“[I] feel really good,” Nix said. “I feel like we’ve had a little bit of a jolt in our team and we’re playing really well right now.”
Nix’s role in getting the game-winning hit was made easy by Ichiro Suzuki creating havoc on the bases as a pinch runner for Mark Reynolds, who was pitched around due to his power.
“It changes it a lot,” Nix said. “It makes my job a lot easier.”
After getting sacrificed to second by Eduardo Nunez, Ichiro swiped third. That forced Toronto to bring the infield in and meant all Nix had to do was get a ball over someone’s head.
“I went in as a pinch runner and I thought I needed to do something today,” Ichiro said through a translator. “And it was my chance to do something, a good opportunity.”
Ichiro scored and everyone celebrated as the crowd was able to forget the poor swings by Rodriguez in his first time playing twice in the same day.
“I wasn’t sure what we’d get the second game in a sense,” Girardi said. “It’s the first time he probably had to play two games in one day but I’m OK with everything.”
Mariano Rivera allowed two hits but kept the game tied and earned the win. The alternative before Nix’s two big hits would have been a tough-luck loss for Phil Hughes after allowing two runs and seven hits in six-plus innings.
Instead, Nix changed that with two clutch swings and the Yankees continued winning.
“It’s huge,” Hughes said of Nix. “He’s been a big force for us off the bench sometimes when we need him coming in at third, short. He plays wherever we need him to play and he’s huge for us.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.