Toronto (57-49) at New York (62-41)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 2, 2006
  • TV: TSN, YES
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New York Yankees strengthened their lineup at the trade deadline. One reason they did not try to obtain a high-profile starter is the work of Chien-Ming Wang.

The right-hander will try to win his fifth straight start for first-place New York (62-41) on Wednesday when it continues a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays (57-49) at Yankee Stadium.

New York added right fielder Bobby Abreu at the trade deadline and the two-time All-Star went 0-for-3 with a walk in his Yankees debut, a 5-1 victory on Tuesday.

The Yankees also obtained Cory Lidle in that deal with Philadelphia, but didn’t trade for a big-name starter. The emergence of Wang (12-4, 3.77 ERA) no doubt was a factor in their thinking.

The second-year starter, 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA over his last four starts, can tie veteran Mike Mussina for the team lead in victories with a win on Wednesday.

His latest outing was the best of his career, a two-hitter in a 6-0 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday for his first career shutout. Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon compared Wang to Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

“I almost saw Halladay out there,” Maddon said. “A real heavy sinker. Just pounds the strike zone. The velocity on his sinker is really abnormal.”

Wang is 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays, winning his only outing against them this year by giving up four runs and 10 hits over six innings in a 5-4 victory on July 22.

New York won for the sixth time in seven games with Tuesday’s victory, moving percentage points ahead of Boston for the AL East lead.

“The only thing that means is we don’t have to worry about other teams,” shortstop Derek Jeter said. “Now, if we play better than the rest of the division, we’ll win.”

Jeter went 1-for-3 with two runs Tuesday, and is 20-for-40 with 10 runs and eight RBIs over his last 10 games.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez recorded his first multihit game against the Blue Jays this year by going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Rodriguez entered the game hitting .152 (5-for-33) against Toronto this season.

The Blue Jays fell to 2-6 on their 10-game road trip after winning three of four against the Yankees from July 20-23. Toronto pulled within two games of New York in the division after that series, but is now 6 1/2 games behind both the Yankees and Red Sox.

Toronto starters have a 6.86 ERA on the trip and have pitched into the seventh inning only twice. A.J. Burnett lasted just four innings and gave up four runs and four hits on Tuesday.

The Blue Jays hope to reverse that trend when Ted Lilly (9-9, 4.02) makes his third start of the year against New York. He’s 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in the first two and 2-6 with a 5.89 ERA in 12 career outings against the Yankees, who he pitched for from 2000-02.

The left-hander is 1-5 with a 6.29 ERA over his last seven road starts.

Jeter is just 4-for-22 in his career against Lilly.

New York and Toronto have split 10 meetings this season.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Lilly LAD vs. C. Wang Atl
15-13 Record 19-6
4.31 ERA 3.63
160 K 76
81 BB 52
1.43 WHIP 1.31

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 2