YANKEES 7, BLUE JAYS 3
When the Yankees signed free-agent outfielder Andruw Jones, all they asked him to do was to hit left-handers consistently whenever he was asked to start a game. After Wednesday afternoon’s game it is pretty obvious that is exactly what Jones is giving the Yankees.
Jones blasted a pair of two-run home runs, both off left-handers, to lead New York to a 7-3 victory over Toronto at Yankee Stadium.
Freddy Garcia (3-4) got credit for the victory after giving up three runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of work. David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera kept the Blue Jays scoreless the rest of the way. Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth in what was his 1,000th appearance of his career.
Jones connected for his first home run in the second inning off loser Jo-Jo Reyes (0-4) with Russell Martin on base to make the score 3-0. He also homered in sixth inning off reliever Luis Perez with Martin on base again to make the score 7-1.
After being tagged with the loss, Reyes ran his streak of winless starts to tie a major-league record 28 games. He is tied with Anthony Young and Matt Keough.
The victory gave the Yankees a season record of 27-21 and they remain a half-game ahead of the Boston Red Sox in first place in the American League East. The Blue Jays season record fell to 24-26 and 3 1/2 games out in fourth place.
- In limited play this season, Jones has four home runs, seven RBIs and is batting .240. Manager Joe Girardi elected to put Jones in the lineup against the left-handed starter Reyes and sit left-handed-hitting Brett Gardner. As it turned out, it was a good decision.
- Curtis Granderson continues to be hotter than the weather. He doubled in Jeter in the first inning and singled and scored a run in the third inning. At that point he had collected hits in six straight plate appearances. He ended up 2-for-4 and he is now batting .280 with 16 home runs and 36 RBIs.
- Mark Teixeira added a two-run home run of his own in the third inning off Reyes. It was his 13th of the season and it was his fourth home run in his last seven games. Teixeira has now moved into third place in the majors leagues in home runs behind Gramderson (16) and Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (19).
- Garcia actually pitched better than his ledger showed. He entered the sixth inning having given up only three hits and no runs to the Blue Jays. But he tired a bit and gave up three runs on five hits in the next 1 1/3 innings. Five of Garcia’s eight starts have been quality starts.
- Nick Swisher entered Wednesday’s game in an 0-for-15 slide despite the fact he was rested for two days during the three-game weekend series against the Mets. He was 0-for-3 in the game and he has not reached first via a base hit since he singled in the fifth inning of a May 19 game against the Baltimore Orioles. Swisher is now batting .204 on the season.
- While the Jones move worked, Girardi also decided to use Alex Rodriguez as a DH and inserted Eduardo Nunez to play third base. Nunez was 0-for-4 in the game and is batting average slid to .240.
- The Yankees seem to be in need of fielding practice including the pitchers. Garcia had a few mishaps in the field. In the first inning Garcia knocked down Nunez as he tried to let Teixeira catch a popup on the mound. In the fifth inning he nearly ran over Teixeira at first base on a grounder Teixeira took unassisted. The Yankees defense has been sloppy this season but a big part of it has been misplays and bad throws from pitchers.
Very expensive set-up man Rafael Soriano will miss another six to eight weeks with an inflamed ligament in his right elbow. That diagnosis was made after Soriano was examined by Dr. James Andrews. Soriano, 31, has been sidelined since May 13 and has been on the disabled list since May 17. Soriano will rest for two weeks and then begin a throwing program over the next four to six weeks. . . . In making his 1,000th appearance on Wednesday, Rivera became only the 15th major-league pitcher to reach that mark. He is first to make all 1,000 appearances with one team.
The Yankees will get a day off on Thursday in order to fly to the West Coast for their first western swing of the season. They will open a weekend series with the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
A.J. Burnett (5-3, 4.02 ERA) will open the road trip for the Yankees. Burnett gave up two runs in the first inning but held on for a quality start and a victory over the Mets on Saturday. He is 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA against the Mariners in his career.
The Mariners will counter with rookie sensation Michael Pineda (6-2, 2.16 ERA). Pineda is in the midst of a 14-inning scoreless streak during which he given up just five hits and one walk and 16 strikeouts. He has never faced the Yankees.