TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Blue Jays have Randy Johnson’s number this year, beating him for a second time, thanks to home runs from Frank Menechino and Shea Hillenbrand to lead the Jays past the New York Yankees 8-5 Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.
After Scott Downs shut down the Yankees in the first, the Blue Jays would look to get things started against Randy Johnson who had a career 13-5 record against the Jays with a 2.79 ERA coming into today’s game. Toronto would get to the Big Unit in their half of the first with RBI singles from Shea Hillenbrand and Aaron Hill for a 2-0 lead. With men on the corners though, Johnson would strike out Gregg Zaun and John Flaherty proceeded to throw out Hill at second to end the inning.
In a scaring moment during the second inning, home plate umpire Marty Foster would be struck in the right leg by the broken bat of Jason Giambi who grounded out to first base. Foster would need to be carted off the field and was replaced behind the plate by second base umpire Laz Diaz. The near fifteen minute delay would allow the Yankees to load the bases for Derek Jeter who would line a two-run single up the middle. Gary Sheffield would follow with a single to score Flaherty to erase the Blue Jays lead and giving New York a 3-2 advantage.
The New York lead wouldn’t last long though as Toronto would get a surprising solo home run off the bat of Frank Menechino with one out in the second off Johnson to tie the game at three. The Jays would score once more with two outs on a Vernon Wells RBI double to center field regaining the lead at 4-3.
The Jays would score again in the third inning with runners on the corner on a pickoff attempt at first base by Randy Johnson. The alert Shea Hillenbrand would break for home and beat the wild throw from Jason Giambi.
Both teams would trade runs in the fourth but Shea Hillenbrand would golf a two-run shot off Scott Proctor in the sixth to extend Toronto’s lead to 8-4.
Gary Sheffield would lead off the ninth for the Yankees with a solo shot off Miguel Batista to cut the lead to 8-5 but it was too little too late for the Bronx Bombers as the Jays win game two and set up the rubber match game of the series on Sunday.
Pete Walker (5-3), who came on in relief of Scott Downs, pitched two and one-third innings of shutout ball for the win. Randy Johnson (11-7) continues to show vulnerability this season as he loses for the seventh time this year after pitching only four innings, allowing six runs, five earned, on ten hits.
Toronto will look to Josh Towers (8-8) to give them a series win against New York as they attempt to inch closer in the American League East. The Yankees will counter with veteran left-hander Al Leiter (4-10).
The game on Sunday can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet starting at 1pm EST with radio coverage on The FAN 590am beginning at 12:30pm EST.
InsideTheDome’s Game Notes: After watching from the dugout for the better part of the week, prospect Aaron Hill finally got a start Saturday and didn’t disappoint going 3-for-4 with a run batted in…This afternoon was the second time this season that the Blue Jays have beaten Randy Johnson – the first being back on April 29th with Roy Halladay on the hill.