Blue Jays 8, Yankees 0, 7 1/2 innings

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NEW YORK (AP)—Mark Hendrickson’s first outing at Yankee Stadium was a slam dunk.

Just back from the minors, the former NBA player pitched a five-hitter to lead the Toronto Blue Jays over the New York Yankees 8-0 Monday night in a game called after 7 1/2 innings because of rain.

“I think the trip back to the minors has been very helpful,” Hendrickson said. “Seeing how far I’ve come as a pitcher, the game is played at such a high speed up here.”

Vernon Wells homered twice for the Blue Jays, who tagged Jeff Weaver for 11 hits and ended the Yankees’ five-game winning streak.

The 6-foot-9 Hendrickson averaged 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in four NBA seasons with Philadelphia, Sacramento, New Jersey and Cleveland. He compared his first appearance at Yankee Stadium to the excitement of playing basketball in Madison Square Garden or the Forum.

“It’s a fun atmosphere to pitch in,” Hendrickson said.

Wells drove in three runs, and Eric Hinske and Chris Woodward each had two RBIs for Toronto.

The Blue Jays have won five straight in New York—they swept a four-game series at Yankee Stadium for the first time in franchise history May 22-25.

Hendrickson was sent to the minors July 9 and made two solid starts before being recalled Monday. He won for the first time in five big league starts since June 12 against Pittsburgh.

Once the game was halted because of the rain, it was called following the mandatory 30-minute wait. That gave Hendrickson (6-6) his first career complete game even though reliever Scott Service was warming up on the mound to pitch the bottom of the eighth before the rain came.

“It’s not the nine that you want, but I’m happy with the win,” said Hendrickson, who was thrilled that his older brother, Steven, was visiting from Seattle and at Yankee Stadium to see his big game.

Hendrickson walked two in seven innings, redeeming himself after an awful outing against the Yankees in his first start of the season.

On April 2 in Toronto, the soft-tossing lefty was roughed up for seven runs and 10 hits in just 1 2-3 innings—the shortest start of his career.

He was much more effective this time, getting some nice defense from Bobby Kielty at first base as well.

“He pitches much better on the road than at home, which is something we’re going to have to figure out,” said Toronto manager Carlos Tosca, adding that he thinks Hendrickson’s NBA experience is helping him mature as a baseball player.

The drubbing was especially disappointing for Weaver (5-8) because he was coming off his best start of a difficult year, a 6-2 win at Toronto on July 13.

“I think they were more disciplined than last time,” Weaver said.

The Blue Jays finished with 15 hits. Weaver allowed five runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings, leaving to a chorus of boos from the crowd of 51,958.

“If I win a few in a row, hopefully everything will be forgotten,” he said. “That’s the way it is here.”

Yankees manager Joe Torre was also asked about how Weaver handles the boos.

“If he can’t do it, then he’s not the guy we thought he was,” Torre said.

Weaver looked uncomfortable right from the start but pitched out of trouble early, retiring Carlos Delgado with two on in the first and the bases loaded in the third.

Kielty and Hinske started the fourth with consecutive doubles, and Woodward added a two-out RBI single for a 2-0 lead.

Toronto then chased Weaver with five straight hits in the fifth.

Wells set a career high with his 24th homer, surpassing last year’s total. Delgado and Kielty followed with singles, and RBI singles by Hinske and Tom Wilson made it 5-0.

Wells added a two-out RBI single in the sixth off Sterling Hitchcock, and Woodward had an RBI single in the seventh. Wells homered off Dan Miceli in theeighth, giving him four career multihomer games—three this season.

Notes

To make room for Hendrickson, Toronto optioned RHP Corey Thurman to Triple-A Syracuse. … Blue Jays DH Josh Phelps (back spasms) and RHP Cliff Politte (shoulder), both on the disabled list, began rehabilitation assignments with Syracuse. … Delgado, tied with New York’s Jason Giambi for the AL lead with 28 homers, has not gone deep in 15 games and 61 at-bats since July 2—his longest drought of the year. … The Yankees have averaged 53,218 fans in their last 12 home games. … Every Toronto batter had at least one hit. … Giambileft after the seventh inning with mild stiffness in his back.

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