BRONX, NY – Neither Ted Lilly or Carl Pavano had their best stuff on Sunday as the Yankee and Blue Jay hitters went back and forth until Toronto finally pulled away in the 7th . Eric Hinske hit an RBI double and Gregg Zaun had a sacrifice fly breaking a 6-6 tie, giving the Blue Jays an 8-6 victory and the series win.
In the rubber match of this series, the Blue Jays came out firing on all cylinders but stalled early on as they continued to shoot themselves in the foot by grounding into rally-killing inning ending double plays. But like many good teams, if you put yourselves in position to succeed often, the breaks are likely going to fall your way eventually as the Blue Jays found out today.
It was the Yankees who got on the board first in the second inning when Hideki Matsui brought home Alex Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly for an early 1-0 lead. But the Blue Jays put their rally killer tendencies behind them, and fought back, tying it up in the third, when Alex Rios scored on an Orlando Hudson groundout to second base. Hudson though, had to leave the game after the bottom of the fourth inning when he collided with 1st Base umpire Rick Reed while backing up a play at first. He would return to the Jays clubhouse a little later on after having a precautionary CT scan at the hospital. The results were negative as he was only a little shaken up on the play.
His teammates would take the lead in the fourth, when suddenly red-hot Corey Koskie belted a Pavano offering deep to right field for a solo shot, his fifth of the season, giving the blue birds a 2-1 advantage. The Yankees would come back in their half of the inning with a shot of their own when Ted Lilly grooved one to Gary Sheffield, luckily, no one was on base and the game was now tied at two.
The Jays would get a run across in the fifth when Russ Adams scored on new second basemen Frank Menechino’s groundout to short. Toronto tried some trickery in hopes of catching the Yanks asleep when they attempted a double-steal with runners on 1st and 3rd, but Frank Catalanotto was thrown out at home keeping the Jays within reach at 3-2.
The wheels began to fall off for Lilly in the fifth where he gave up four consecutive hits to Tony Womack, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Sheffield. With one run already across, they intentionally walked Rodriguez loading the bases and received a sac-fly from Jorge Posada, followed by a Matsui double, as the Yankees took a commanding 6-3 lead after five.
Toronto refused to roll over though as Shea Hillenbrand, who went 4-for-5 on the day, singled, Hinske followed with a single of his own and Gregg Zaun walked, loading the bases. That was all for Carl Pavano as he went five innings, with six runs thru nine hits. Former Blue Jay Paul Quantrill had the task of getting Pavano off the hook, but couldn’t do it. Rios hit a sac-fly, Catalanotto would walk, and Menechino would battle Quantrill for a two-run single to right to tie the game at six.
Pete Walker would come out to work the bottom half of the sixth as Lilly went five innings, giving up six runs on eight hits. Walker, who has been brilliant so far, sat down the Yanks in order. Just what the Jays needed from Walker, as Toronto would capitalize with two runs off Mike Stanton, who took the loss, in the eighth.
Walker and Scott Schoeneweis would pitch 2 and 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, allowing closer Miguel Batista to finish off a delightful comeback victory with his seventh save of the season.
Toronto will now move onto Baltimore for a three game series, hoping for a little payback as the Orioles swept the Jays at Rogers Centre last weekend. Gustavo Chacin (4-1) will look to tame the Baltimore bats as he goes after his fifth win of the year. Rodrigo Lopez (2-1) pitches for the O’s.
Monday’s game can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet starting at 7pm EST as well as on The FAN 590AM.
InsideTheDome’s Game Notes: Shea Hillenbrand, who had four hits today, raised his league leading average to .410…Six Toronto players had two or more hits today against New York…Orlando Hudson is listed as day-to-day after his collision with 1st Base Umpire Rick Reed…The Yankees have a home record of 7-10, having now lost three straight home series…The Blue Jays, who will now face Baltimore for three games have a great chance to shorten the gap between themselves and the 17-7 Orioles, who have now won 8 straight.