Blue Jays 7, Yankees 0

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TORONTO (AP)—Orlando Hernandez has a tired arm and doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to start in the playoffs.

El Duque lost his second straight start, allowing five runs in three innings Friday night as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 7-0 behind David Bush’s two-hitter.

“Maybe my arm needs a little rest,” said Hernandez, who missed the 2003 season because of shoulder surgery. “I’m feeling tired. It’s normal for the rehab. I didn’t start for a long time.”

Hernandez (8-2), pushed back three days in the rotation because of a tired shoulder, gave up five hits and three walks as he repeatedly threw soft pitches. While he didn’t feel any pain, Hernandez said through a translator that he’s “forcing his arm” and “that’s not good.”

El Duque, who left after 63 pitches, was on track to pitch Game 3 of the playoffs next Friday.

“He feels like his arm is a little dead,” New York manager Joe Torre said. “He’s disappointed with that fact that it feels fatigued. He doesn’t feel it has any pop.”

Hernandez felt tired when he warmed up.

“We asked him several times. He assured us he’s not hurting. His arm is just a little tired,” pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. “His arm strength just wasn’t there. He just wasn’t feeling good.”

Hernandez went 8-0 in his first 13 starts before a 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays on Sept. 22.

“Bottom line, he’s done more than what we thought he’d be able to do, but I think he’ll rise to the occasion,” said Stottlemyre, who thought Hernandez could start in the playoffs.

Mike Mussina is likely to start Tuesday’s opener and be followed by Jon Lieber in Game 2. A possible replacement for Hernandez could be right-hander Kevin Brown, scheduled to start for the Yankees on Saturday.

Brown missed three weeks after breaking his left hand when he punched a clubhouse wall on Sept. 3, then was hit hard in his return. He got just two outs at Boston last Sunday, when he allowed four runs and six hits.

“It’s an important start for him,” Torre said.

A day after clinching their seventh straight AL East title, the Yankees started just one regular, Hideki Matsui. He has started every game this season, extending his streak of consecutive games played to 322. Before he joined New York, he played in 1,250 consecutive games for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan’s Central League.

Jason Giambi went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, dropping to 3-for-25 (.120) since he was activated from the disabled list. Before the game, Torre said it would be a “long shot” that Giambi would be left off the postseason roster.

Bush (5-4), making his 16th major league start, struck out a career-high 11 and walked three, allowing singles to Enrique Wilson in the fifth and Dioner Navarro in the eighth.

“This is definitely a big confidence-builder going into the offseason,” Bush said. “To go out this way is pretty good.”

Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Blue Jays, who were assured their first last-place finish since 1981—their fifth season in the AL. Tampa Bay beat Detroit on Friday night to clinch fourth in the AL East.

Toronto make it 5-0 in the third when Carlos Delgado singled with two outs, Hernandez issued consecutive walks to Alex Rios, Eric Hinske and Gabe Gross, and Guillermo Quiroz followed with a two-run single.

Delgado walked against Scott Proctor with the bases loaded in the sixth and added a sacrifice fly in the eighth against Steve Karsay.

Notes

Wells robbed Ruben Sierra of extra bases with a leaping grab at the center-field wall in the seventh. … The Yankees have been shut out six times this season.

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