The Yankees won a well-played, tight 3-2 game in Anaheim, but that score alone will hide the larger victories:
- AJ Burnett pitched well. He struck out eleven and threw too many pitches in doing so (strikeout pitchers will invariably throw a lot of pitches), but had it not been near 100 F in Anaheim, he may have stayed in longer than his just-over 100 pitches.
- Ian Kennedy (remember him?) pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Sure, he loaded the bases, but the important thing here is that he pitched. After surgery for an aneurysm, Kennedy wasn't expected to pitch at all this season. He came back to pitch in the International League's playoffs (AAA) and now pitched for the Yankees. His last memory of 2009 then won't be the aneurysm, but getting that final out in the eighth in a 3-2 ballgame.
- For the first time in five years, the Yankees won a series in Anaheim. Don't think it matters? It's a distinct possibility that the Yankees and Anaheim meet in the postseason. At this point it's unlikely that the Yankees would lose home field advantage, but even so the Yankees no longer have the monkey (bad pun intended) on their backs.
The magic number for the division is down to five, and while clinching against Boston is not a guarantee (though that would be awesome), the Yankees should be able to clinch it on their final homestand of the year.