August Record: 21-7
Hitting Stars (OPS): J. Damon (.994), D. Jeter (.977), R. Cano (.943), A. Rodriguez (.942), H. Matsui (.918)
Pitching Stars (ERA)(>6 IP): M. Rivera (0.79), B. Bruney (0.87) P. Hughes (1.74), A. Pettitte (2.50), CC (2.64)
The Yankees started their best month of the year in inauspicious fashion, dropping their third straight to the White Sox. AJ Burnett got rocked for 7 runs, and the Yanks lost 14-4 in Jerry Hairston’s first game as a Yankee. The next game saw the Yankees break their losing streak with an 8-5 victory. The Yanks scored 3 runs in the 2nd off Mark Buehrle on a 3 run homer by Melky Cabrera, but CC Sabathia allowed back to back homers to Dye and Thome to fall behind 4-3. Hits by Melky in the 4th and 5th set up two runs in each inning, and Melky came to the plate in the 9th needing a triple for the cycle….and he got it.
The Yankees then took a short two game series from Toronto, beating Roy Halladay again in the opener. The score was 2-1 Yankees going into the 8th, when Damon and Teixeira went back to back off Doc, and Matsui homered off him in the 9th as well. Mariano Rivera allowed a 2-run double to Vernon Wells in the 8th, but held on for a 5-3 victory. The Yanks trailed 3-2 into the 7th the next night, but Nick Swisher homered, Matsui added an RBI single, and the Yankees eventually won 8-4.
The Yankees returned home for a rumble with the Red Sox, who had taken an 8-0 lead in the season series to that point. The Yankees trailed the opener 3-1 heading into the bottom of the 4th, with a Damon homer off John Smoltz representing the only run for the Yankees. Dustin Pedroia and Casey Kotchman had homered for Boston, with Dustin’s being the first opposite field homer of his career. However, the Yankees broke the game open with an 8-spot in the 4th. Robbie Cano had an RBI single, Melky Cabrera added a huge 3-run homer, and Jorge Posada launched a 3-run shot off Billy Traber to give the Yanks a 9-3 lead. Joba ran into trouble in the 5th, loading the bases and allowing a run with one out before striking out Kotchman and Lowrie. The Yankees held on for a 13-6 victory. Yankee Stadium played host to a thriller the next night, as the Yankees defeated Boston 2-0 in 15 innings. AJ Burnett and Josh Beckett pitched shutout ball, with Burnett allowing just one hit and 6 walks in 7.2 innings. Alfredo Aceves and Brian Bruney combined for 5 shutout innings of relief, while the Red Sox needed a spectacular play from JD Drew on an Eric Hinske drive in the 14th to extend the game. In the 15th, Alex Rodriguez finally sent everybody home with a 2 run shot deep into the night.
A shift in the Yankee-Red Sox dynamic had begun to take effect, and CC Sabathia kept the ball rolling the next day with 7.2 innings of 2 hit, 1 run work in which he carried a no hitter into the 6th. Ramon Ramirez hit A-Rod after the Yankees extended the lead to 2-0 in the 7th, and was ejected. Jeter added a 2-run homer to cap off the 5-0 victory. Oh, Youkilis dropped one in left field and looked awful out there. The next night saw another epic battle between these two clubs. Andy Pettitte and Jon Lester traded zeroes into the 7th, where Jon cracked first by allowing a solo homer to A-Rod. Phil Coke, rather than the unavailable Phil Hughes (we didn’t know at the time that he was unavailable, which made for some indignant fans), came in to start the 8th, and promptly served up a two run shot to Victor Martinez, sending the Boston dugout into a frenzy. However, in the bottom of the 8th, the Red Sox vaunted bullpen failed. After two quick outs, Johnny Damon lined a Dan Bard fastball over the right centerfield wall, and the crowd went crazy. With the upper deck still shaking, Mark Teixeira looked for a breaking ball and put one into the seats down the line in right, and there was pandemonium in the Bronx. Nick Swisher added a 2-run single, and the Yanks pulled out a thrilling 5-2 win. The victory all but ended the race in the division, with the Yankees moving 6.5 games ahead of Boston.
The Yankees then pulled out an exciting 2-1 series win over Toronto. They dropped the opener 5-4 after Sergio Mitre made an important error on a throw to 2nd that cost him 3 runs. Cano and Hairston did go back to back in the game. The Yankees trailed 4-3 headed into the 8th the next night, but scored 5 to pull out a 7-5 win. Hideki Matsui hit a solo homer to tie the game, and Jorge Posada followed with a homer that scraped the wall and was reviewed before they let him touch home with the go-ahead run. The Yankees captured the finale and the series in walkoff fashion. AJ Burnett allowed 12 baserunners in 6 innings and threw 3 wild pitches, but was able to hold the Jays to 3 runs. With the game tied at 3 in the 11th due to a strong Yankees debut for Chad Gaudin, A-Rod was HBP (as was Jeter earlier in the game), moved to 2nd on a Posada single, and came home on a Cano “single” to the wall in right.
The Yankees started the next series with an 11-1 laugher over the Mariners, behind CC Sabathia’s 8IP, 1R, 10K performance. They took the next game 4-2 in exciting fashion, as Mark Teixiera broke a 2-2 tie in the 9th with a solo shot to right. The Yankees won the next one 5-2, as Sergio Mitre pitched well into the 6th inning. The Yankees scored 4 in the 2nd, with an error by the excellent Franklin Guttierez setting up an inning that was capped off by a two run homer from Nick Swisher. The finale went to the Mariners 10-3, with Joba Chamberlain and Alfredo Aceves each allowing 4 runs. This game was notable for Derek Jeter’s 2,674 hit as a SS, allowing him to pass Luis Aparicio for the most ever by a SS.
The Yankees went into Oakland and took 2 out of 3, losing only the opener 3-0 due to 5 shutout innings from former Yankee Brett Tomko. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the 3rd before A-Rod hit into a double play, and they wasted a solid 8 inning showing from AJ Burnett. CC Sabathia allowed single runs in the first 2 innings the following night, but shut it down from there as he turned in an 8 inning performance. The game was tied at 2 entering the 6th, before Derek Jeter notched an RBI single that opened the floodgates on a 5 run inning. One memorable event was CC throwing behind Suzuki, followed one pitch later by Suzuki launching one into the left field seats. Chad Gaudin pitched well into the 5th in his first start for the Yankees in the finale, and a 2 run shot from Tex provided the margin in a 3-2 victory. The Yankees also turned two important double plays, as Aceves got one with the bases loaded in the 5th and Hughes earned one after letting the first two hitters reach in the 8th.
The Yankees then went into Boston and took 2 of 3 to put the season series at 6-9 for the Red Sox. Brad Penny and Michael Bowden allowed 15 runs as the Yankees took a 20-11 victory. Jorge Posada knocked in 2 in the first, Teixeira added two RBI’s in the 2nd, and Matsui had two homers and 7 RBI’s to power the Yankees. The Yanks dropped the next one 14-1, as Junichi Tazawa shut them down while AJ Burnett allowed 9 runs in 5 innings. This was the game where Burnett allowed a home run to Papi and started shouting “Why, Why, Why,” which some interpreted as questioning his catcher. The next night was a ton of fun, as the Yankees scored 8 runs off Beckett in 8 innings, including 5 homeruns hit out of that Boston bandbox. Jeter led off the game with a shot, Matsui did the same in the 2nd, Cano got into one in the 4th, A-Rod put the game away with a 2 run job in the 5th, and Matsui capped things off with a solo homer in the 8th.
The Yankees then dropped their first series of the month, losing 2 of 3 to Texas. The first game was a thriller, as Joba Chamberlain wasted a 4 run Yankee first by allowing 7 runs in 4 innings. The Yankees trailed 10-5 heading into the 9th, but rallied when Matsui, Posada, and Cano hit bases loaded singles to score 4 runs and leave runners at 1st and 2nd and nobody out in a 10-9 game. However, Joe Girardi had Nick Swisher bunt (a move I agreed with and still believe was correct), and Swish popped the bunt up. Melky then lined into a double play to end the game. The Yankees took the next one 9-2 as they got a good game from Andy Pettitte and knocked around Derek Holland. AJ Burnett pitched well in the next game, striking out 12 and allowing just 2 hits, but made one mistake to Ian Kinsler to account for 3 runs and left trailing 3-2. Phil Coke entered and quickly gave up 3 runs on a homer to Chris Davis, and the Yanks dropped a 7-2 decision.
The Yankees then swept the White Sox, gaining a modicum of revenge for the 3-1 loss they endured in the previous series between the clubs. The Yankees took the opener 5-2 on a 3-run walkoff homer from Robbie Cano in the 10th. Jeter homered to leadoff the 1st and Johnny Damon did the same in the 3rd, giving CC a 2-0 lead he carried into the 7th. The Sox scored twice in the 7th but the Yankees threw out 2 runners at home in the inningand A-Rod made an important diving stop, setting up Cano’s heroics in the 10th. Sergio Mitre allowed 1 hit in 6.1 the next day prior to leaving with an injury and combined with Gaudin on a one hitter as the Yankees won 10-0. The sweep came on a 8-3 victory in Joba Chamberlain’s first shortened start, a 3 inning job in which he allowed 2 runs. Alfredo Aceves pitched 3 shutout to help the Yankees get the win, with a 5 run 7th geared by a 3 run Tex homer powering the Yankee offense.
The final August game was a contest in which Andy Pettitte carried a perfect game into the 7th. After getting the first 20 outs, one on a nice play by Jerry Hairston, a routine grounder to Hairston at 3rd was booted, and Markakis followed with a single to end the no hitter as well. Pettitte allowed one run in the 8th, but the Yankees held on for a 5-1 win, with Nick Swisher providing the offense.