New York (100-61) at Toronto (67-93)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 36° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Oct 3, 2004
  • TV: YES, RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Josh Towers has been looking to get his 10th win for more than five weeks.

Toronto manager John Gibbons will give the right-hander one last chance when the last-place Blue Jays wrap up the regular season against the AL East champion New York Yankees at SkyDome.

Towers has had an up-and-down year, but appeared headed for a strong finish after posting his career-best ninth victory in a 14-4 victory at Baltimore on Aug. 20. However, Towers has gone 0-4 in five starts since, including Thursday’s 9-3 setback to the Orioles in what many figured would be his final outing of the year.

Towers lasted a season-low two innings, surrendering four runs and six hits.

“It’s been a roller coaster of a season,” Towers said. “Bad, great, then terrible. Highs and lows, decent for a little while. But they look at how you finish, so I’m terrible.”

Gibbons, who will be back as Toronto manager next year after taking over on an interim basis for Carlos Tosca earlier this season, wanted to give Towers another shot, so he’ll start him on only two days’ rest Sunday.

“He’s been looking for that 10th win and it’s been hard for him to get,” Gibbons said. “Maybe Sunday there will be a chance he can get that.”

The Blue Jays have taken the first two games of the series, including Saturday’s 4-2 victory.

Despite the defeat, New York got a huge boost from Kevin Brown in his second start since returning from a broken hand. Auditioning for a start in the postseason, Brown held the Blue Jays to Vernon Wells’ double in the fourth— and one unearned run over five sharp innings.

“This might make us consider that,” pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. “The fact that he pitched as well as he did today, it gives us another option to use him in some capacity, how we use him I’m not sure.”

Brown missed three weeks after breaking his non-pitching hand when he punched a clubhouse wall on Sept. 3. He was hit hard in his return, getting just two outs while surrendering four runs in the first inning at Boston last Sunday.

With Orlando Hernandez struggling with a tired arm, Brown might start Game 3 of the playoffs. Mike Mussina will start Tuesday’s playoff opener, followed by Jon Lieber in Game 2.

Stottlemyre tentatively has Hernandez scheduled for Game 3 next Friday, but Hernandez will likely be left off the roster if he doesn’t feel good when he throws on the side on Monday.

Stottlemyre has Javier Vazquez penciled in for Game 4, but he said he might change that.

Brown blamed a sore back for his previous loss to Boston.

“My back was really tight, stiff the last time out. Today I managed to find a way to get it looser,” Brown said. “The hand is a non-issue. It’s not a problem.”

The Yankees still don’t know who their first-round opponent will be. Either AL Central champion Minnesota or AL West winner Anaheim will visit Yankee Stadium for Game 1 of the ALDS on Tuesday.

The Twins (91-69) will complete a suspended game before playing their season finale against Cleveland on Sunday, while the Angels (92-69) wrap up a three-game set in Oakland. The division winner with the third-best record will take on the top-seeded Yankees.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Halsey NYY vs. J. Towers LAD
1-3 Record 9-9
6.47 ERA 5.11
25 K 51
14 BB 26
1.72 WHIP 1.50