New York (21-29) at Toronto (24-27)

  • Game info: 7:07 pm EDT Wed May 30, 2007
  • TV: YES, RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New York Yankees are getting more and more frustrated as the losses mount and their division deficit grows ever more imposing.

They’ll look to avoid a second straight three-game sweep Wednesday when they wrap up their series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

New York (21-29) dropped its fifth straight game Tuesday, falling 3-2 to Toronto. Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill stole home in the seventh inning, and Alex Rios hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly as the Yankees fell a season-high 14 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East.

The Yankees, who also dropped seven in a row in April, have lost 13 of 18 to fall eight games under .500 for the first time since they were 11-19 on May 6, 2005.

“It seems like we’re losing every way possible and tonight was no different,” Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon said.

New York, which is coming off a three-game weekend sweep against the Los Angeles Angels, has not been swept in consecutive three-game series since losing three at Tampa Bay and at Baltimore Sept. 26-Oct. 1, 2000, to end a season in which it had already secured the AL East title.

The Yankees have not been swept by the Blue Jays (24-27) since May 22-25, 2003, when Toronto took four games in New York, and have not been swept in Toronto since the Blue Jays took three games Sept. 19-21, 2000.

“You can envision us struggling, just not this long,” shortstop Derek Jeter said of the Yankees, who have scored only eight runs in their last four games. “Every team scuffles at times but we’ve been scuffling for a long time now.”

New York is 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position so far in this series.

“Everybody seems to want to do it themselves and you can’t do it that way,” manager Joe Torre said. “We need to have a game where we can have a little fun. We haven’t been able to do that and it’s based on the fact that we seem to keep fighting uphill all the time.”

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have won 11 of their last 17 games and are 2 1/2 games in front of the Yankees. Hill’s steal of home was Toronto’s first since Shea Hillenbrand did it Aug. 6, 2005, also against the Yankees.

Rookie Tyler Clippard (1-1, 3.60 ERA) will look to help the Yankees avoid another sweep in his third major league start. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed three runs in four innings in his Yankee Stadium debut Friday, when Torre pulled him after 76 pitches and he took the loss in a 10-6 defeat to the Angels.

Clippard won his first big league start on May 20, giving up just one run in six innings of a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets.

Toronto will counter with another rookie, Jesse Litsch (1-1, 4.24), who allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings of the Blue Jays’ 4-3 loss in Minnesota on Friday without receiving a decision.

“He’s a young kid, you know, but he battled them,” manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “You just have to consider where he’s coming from. I mean the kid’s coming right out of Double-A and he’s doing a pretty darn good job.”

Litsch has allowed seven runs in 8 1-3 innings over his last two starts after coming within one out of a complete game in his May 15 major league debut, a 2-1 win over Baltimore.

He and Tomo Ohka are competing to stay in the rotation when ace Roy Halladay returns from the disabled list on Thursday.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Clippard ARI vs. J. Litsch TOR
3-1 Record 7-9
6.33 ERA 3.81
18 K 50
17 BB 36
1.70 WHIP 1.37


Wednesday, May 30