Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2
TORONTO (AP)—Jose Contreras felt he needed to win.
Alfonso Soriano homered and Garcia went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Yankees, who are 3 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the AL East.
“I knew that the team needed to get a win, especially going into the weekend against Boston,” Contreras said through an interpreter. “Also because we lost the previous two games against Toronto. Thankfully, things worked out and I had a lot better outing.”
Yankees manager Joe Torre held a team meeting before the game and told his players not to get frustrated. The Yankees were 5 1/2 games ahead of Boston after taking two of three from the Red Sox last weekend, then lost the first two of their three-game series in Toronto.
Contreras, who gave up seven runs in just three innings against Boston last Friday, allowed only two runs—one earned—in seven innings against Toronto. The Cuban right-hander struck out a season-high seven and walked three.
“I worked so hard during the week in the bullpen so I could have a better outing this week because my last outing wasn’t good at all,” Contreras said. “I had everything working today, including the changeup and some forkballs. I was able to throw my fastball inside and outside, which I wasn’t able to do last outing.”
Contreras (5-2) looked like the pitcher who threw seven scoreless innings against Baltimore on Aug. 24. He signed a $27 million, three-year contract with the Yankees after defecting from Cuba last year.
“We need a couple of more games like this from him,” Torre said. “Then we can do pretty much do anything we want with him—pitch him out of the bullpen or if we need a starter. Right now Wells is the other starter if we’re fortunate enough to get to the postseason because he has experience.”
Toronto manager Carlos Tosca was impressed with Contreras
“Contreras was what I would call pleasantly wild,” Tosca said. “It’s hard for a hitter to get in there and get some rhythm going. I’m certain it wasn’t comfortable in the batters box.”
Williams said Torre’s meeting was a good idea.
“He has very good timing when he calls a meeting,” Williams said.
Garcia hit an RBI grounder in the second and Soriano led off the third with a homer, giving New York a 2-0 lead.
Frank Catalanotto hit a fly ball to Garcia, the right fielder, who caught it and threw to third in an effort to get Woodward, who tagged up.
Woodward beat the throw, but Hudson tried to advance to second on the play. Third baseman Aaron Boone looked as if he could have gotten Hudson at second,but threw the ball into right field, allowing Woodward to score the tying run.
New York SS Derek Jeter is expected to miss the series against Boston because of a strained rib cage. … Williams, who entered in a 7-for-48 slump, usually bats cleanup. Torre made Jorge Posada the fourth hitter. … Soriano has 29 home runs. … Toronto starter Cory Lidle allowed two runs on five hitsin six innings.