As Javier Vazquez carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning on Sunday, it was hard not to consider how fitting a Javy no-no would be to end a baseball week marked by imperfection. Vazquez was as imperfect as could be earlier this season, but now he's in a place where the thundering bats of Toronto could do nothing to his pitches except turn them into outs.
Then Vazquez got touched by Vernon Wells and the Yankees fell behind 2-0 after six innings and another fitting end came to mind instead. A wasted gem by Vazquez and a sweep by the Blue Jays because the Yankee bats were held up at customs on their way into Canada. Three runs in the first 24 innings against the Blue Jays was the total at that point and a third loss seemed like just a matter of time until the Blue Jays melted down in the eighth inning.
Two hit batsmen and a Derek Jeter single got the Yankees on the board and then things really got weird. Joe Girardi got ejected while arguing after Nick Swisher struck out, something that could easily be falsely attributed with waking the Yankee offense from its hibernation. A closer look reveals that erratic pitching and managing on the other side had a lot to do with the ensuing rally, however.
With one out, the Blue Jays decided to intentionally walk Mark Teixeira -- 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts to that point in the series -- to load the bases for Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod struck out, but not before a wild pitch scored Brett Gardner and left first base open for Robinson Cano. The Jays elected not to walk Cano, despite having the cold Jorge Posada on deck, and paid for it when the Yankees' best hitter lined a single to left and brought home two more runs and a chance to leave Toronto on a high note.
That wouldn't have been possible without Vazquez who has, unbelievably, been the team's most reliable starter over the last three weeks. He hasn't been better than he was on Sunday when one bad pitch to Wells might have been all that stood between him and a no-hitter or shutout. He struck out nine, changed speeds and generally looked like the pitcher the Yankees thought they were trading for this winter.
The Yankee lineup clearly hasn't gotten the news about Javy's turnaround. They've scored 11 runs in his last five starts, clearly thinking that it doesn't matter how many you score when you give up eight, which makes it all the more impressive that Vazquez has won three of those outings.
We can also thank Vazquez for a reason to continue believing in Teixeira, who got all the April benefit of the doubt fans didn't extend to Javy. Tex hasn't gotten any better as the season has progressed and we'd normally wonder if that was ever going to happen but Vazquez's resurrection makes us believers in the restorative abilities of struggling Yankees.