New York (81-48) at Toronto (53-77)

Light Snow Shower Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 14° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Aug 29, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

For now, the New York Yankees are content to bash the daylights out of their opponents.

With many questions still unanswered in their starting rotation, the Yankees will once again look for their offense to set the tone when they go for a four-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays at SkyDome.

Prior to right-hander Kevin Brown’s win on Saturday, the Yankees had gone 13 straight games without a victory from a starting pitcher, dating to Jon Lieber’s win in Seattle on Aug. 13.

With Brown still working his way back from a back injury and Sunday’s starter, Mike Mussina, still nowhere near postseason ready due to an elbow problem, the Yankees had hoped a few of their other starters would step up and make a pitch to be a solid member of the playoff rotation.

So far, only Orlando Hernandez has responded, going 5-0 with a 2.81 ERA in nine starts since coming back in early July from rehabilitation for shoulder surgery. However, even El Duque has been caught up in the rotation’s current malaise, posting a 5.11 ERA in his last two outings.

Of late, the Yankees’ offense has picked up the pitching staff, scoring 47 runs during New York’s current stretch of five wins in six games.

The lineup made a significant statement on Saturday, scoring nine runs in the ninth inning in an eventual 18-6 victory. Role player Tony Clark homered three times for the first time in his career, and Ruben Sierra hit a grand slam for his 300th homer.

“Knowing that I had a day that I never had before in my career, and that I was wearing pinstripes when I did it, I take some satisfaction in that,” Clark said.

Regulars Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez also connected for New York, which matched its season high for runs.

The Yankees, who overcame a 4-0 deficit for the second time in the series, lead the majors with 51 come-from-behind wins. They also lead the league in home runs with 200 and are second in runs scored with 718, or 5.6 per game.

Sheffield, who leads the Yankees in homers, RBIs and runs, suffered a sprained left ankle during the big ninth inning. X-rays were negative, but Yankees manager Joe Torre said he’ll probably be out of the lineup for a few days.

Sheffield was able to walk on it after the game.

“I feel pretty good. I don’t have a big limp,” Sheffield said. “I’ll be fine. I’m walking pretty good.”

The Blue Jays are 7-24 in games against the Yankees and Boston Red Sox. They have lost five straight and 18 of 24 overall.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Mussina NYY vs. M. Batista Col
12-9 Record 10-13
4.59 ERA 4.80
132 K 104
40 BB 96
1.32 WHIP 1.52