Looks like Joe Girardi also wanted Mariano Rivera to get the record-breaking 602nd save at Yankee Stadium II, because he started this lineup at SkyDome/Rogers Centre yesterday:
1. Brett Gardner, CF, instead of Curtis Granderson
2. Eduardo Nunez, 2B, instead of Robinson Cano
3. Cano, DH, instead of Jorge Posada or Andruw Jones
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Nick Swisher, RF
6. Eric Chavez, 1B, instead of Mark Teixeira
7. Russell Martin, C
8. Curtis Dickerson, LF, instead of Gardner
9. Ramiro Pena, SS, instead of Derek Jeter
Result: No runs on 5 hits -- 3 of them by the usually-useless Nunez. And 5 1/3 shutout innings by Aaron Laffey, Luis Ayala, Scott Proctor, Raul Valdes and George Kontos didn't make up for a shaky start by Freddy Garcia (11-8), as Branden Morrow (10-11) and Frank Francisco (16th save) shut out the Yankees.
Toronto 3, Yankees 0. The Pesky Blue Jays take 2 out of 3.
Tonight, the Yankees come home for a rainout makeup with the Minnesota Twins tomorrow afternoon, A.J. Burnett vs. Scott Diamond. Then 3 at home against the Tampa Bay Rays, where they could eliminate the Rays from the American League Wild Card race, thus clinching Playoff berths for both themselves and the Boston Red Sox. Then 3 at home against said Scum, where they (the Yankees, that is, not The Scum) will probably clinch the American League Eastern Division title. Finally, 3 in St. Petersburg against the Rays to close the regular season.
The Rays beat the Sox to take 2 out of 3 from them. So...
The Yankees' Magic Number to eliminate the Rays and clinch at least a Playoff berth is 5.
The Yankees' Magic Number to eliminate the Sox and clinch the Division is 7.
The Yankees' Magic Number to clinch the best record in the AL, and thus home-field advantage in both rounds of the AL Playoffs, is 10.
So here's hoping that Mariano gets it today -- not just to end the chase, but to put the Yankees 1 game closer to clinching.
Jeter hits 3077 DONE
Rivera saves 601 1
A-Rod homers 629 134
A-Rod hits 2771 229
Magic Number 7 (to eliminate Scum for Division, 5 to eliminate Rays for Playoff, Jays & O's done)