A lot of pitchers have started games for the Yankees over the years, but few were unlikelier than Brian Gordon.
The 32-year-old righthander became the oldest rookie in history to make his first big league start as a member of the Yankees. His route to the big leagues is the stuff of purple prose legend -- minor league outfielder washes out, switches to pitcher and winds up in the Bronx -- but Jack Curry of YES did a much better job than that when he profiled the pitcher in advance of the game.
In a fantasy world, the Yankees would have done everything in their power to get the "kid" a victory under those circumstances but they live in the real world. That meant Alex Rodriguez got the day off as the Yankees just tried to get through the final game of the homestand without losing any more key cogs to the disabled list.
So Gordon had to leave with one out in the sixth after a performance that should earn him another go in Bartolo Colon's usual spot in the rotation. His only real mistake was hitting Adrian Beltre on an 0-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth and he earned the loud applause he got as he left the field.
All that applause could have been for a losing effort if not for a double off the bat of another player you wouldn't have expected to star in a game like this. Jorge Posada doubled home Robinson Cano in the sixth which is unusual only because it came off the left-handed C.J. Wilson.
That may cease to be unusual in the near future as Posada now has four hits against southpaws and a nine-game hitting streak. For now, though, it still qualifies as something unexpected on a day when the Yankees were looking under every rock they could find to stay in the game.
Cory Wade is almost as unlikely a hero as either Posada or Gordon. The former Dodger hadn't pitched in the major leagues since 2009 until the Yankees used him on Wednesday, but he gave the Yanks two scoreless innings of relief in the 11th and 12th to keep the game tied at 2.
He got the win that could have been Gordon's when the Yankees finally capitalized on a rally in the bottom of the 12th. Curtis Granderson got a hit, Cano reached on a pitch that either hit his hand or the knob of his bat and Brett Gardner's single gave him a pie in the face and a 3-2 win.
It probably shouldn't have taken that long as Joe Girardi played strategical butcher in the ninth and the Yankees failed to push a run across with the bases loaded and one out, but the sweep came eventually. That means the Yankees finished with a respectable 6-4 record on the homestand, a mark that looks all the better when you realize it started with three losses against the Red Sox and featured injuries to Colon and Derek Jeter.
All's well that ends well, for the Yankees and for Brian Gordon.