By Jon Lane
The fact that the Yankees are 32-22 and tied for first place is nice enough. How they continue to find ways to win along with an unshakable confidence that there’s always a chance to win is one of the remarkable storylines of the season. Even during an eventual loss Wednesday night, cameras caught A.J. Burnett gesturing to his teammates, “That’s one,” after Jorge Posada’s seventh-inning home run trimmed the Yankees’ deficit from three to two.
There’s an amazing vibe around the team that has carried over to every game. Melky Cabrera’s eighth-inning heroics on Thursday led the Yankees to their league-leading 19th come-from-behind victory and it was the second time they rallied from down at least four runs.
“I think our club feels that we could come back at any time,” said Joe Girardi. “Sometimes when we don’t get it done we feel like, ‘Wow, we didn’t get it done.’ There is confidence in that clubhouse. Keep us close and give us a chance.”
Jerome Preisler was with me at the game outlines a series of subplots that defined the win, including Cabrera ducking Burnett’s attempt at another pie to the face.
Don’t look now, but the beleaguered bullpen has allowed only one run over their last 11 innings (Ian Kinsler’s solo homer off Alfredo Aceves on Thursday). During the Yankees’ current 17-5 run, relievers are averaging more than three innings a game and are 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA.
David Robertson, who needed to throw only one pitch to earn the win, is 5-0 in his career with two one-pitch victories, owns a 2.08 ERA in 11 appearances this season and may finally stick around awhile.
“Guys are starting to settle into their roles now,” said pitching coach Dave Eiland. “Early on, guys were pitching out of their roles and the starters weren’t going as deep in their games, and guys not used to going multiple innings were going multiple innings and came back on shorter rest. It starts and stops with starting pitching. If they can take us to the middle or late innings, the bullpen has a way of working itself out.”