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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Vintage Vazquez and a Breath of Fresh Air

On a gorgeous Friday night in Queens, with the Yankees scuffling from injuries and a certain degree of recent ineptitude, Javier Vazquez delivered his best start as a Yankee since the coaching staff comprised Joe Torre, Willie Randolph, Don Mattingly, Luis Sojo, and Mel Stottlemyre. Bubba Crosby was on that team. And Kenny Lofton. John Flaherty was backing-up Posada behind home plate, not in the YES Network booth and the bullpen was made up of the likes of Felix Heredia, Paul Quantrill, and Bret Prinz. In other words, it's been a long time.

Cruising through six one-hit innings, Vazquez was forced out of the game after bruising his finger in a successful bunt attempt. A trio of relievers, Robertson (coming off his best outing of the 2010 campaign), Marte, and Chamberlain combined for two scoreless innings and got the ball into Rivera's hands with the 2-0 lead (courtesy of rookie Kevin Russo's two-run double in the 7th) still intact. Things got a bit dicey with Mo in the 9th after back-to-back doubles by Bay and Davis, but he induced a ground ball to second to secure his 8th save of the season and a satisfying Yankee win that snapped a three game losing streak and left them four games back of the first-place Rays.

On Saturday, two young right-handers face off at Citi Field, with Phil Hughes (5-0, 2.25) taking on Mike Pelfrey (5-1, 3.02) in the second game of the three-game set.

Photos courtesy of Yahoo! Sports