Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5
TORONTO (AP)—The New York Yankees lost their starting pitcher in the third inning and a chance to make up ground in the standings.
Wright isn’t sure if he’ll be able to make his next scheduled start, which would be next weekend at home against Toronto.
“It’s sore and tight. It’s kind of throbbing,” he said. “It hit right on the bone on the back of the elbow.”
Alex Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 44th home run and Derek Jeter also connected for the Yankees, who fell 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the wild-card race but remained 1 1/2 back of first-place Boston in the AL East.
Jeter struck out looking against Miguel Batista with a runner on second to end it, the eighth time this season he made the final out of a game with the potential tying run on base.
Wright came out after being hit by Eric Hinske’s broken bat, the latest bit of bad luck for a pitcher who has had more than his share throughout his roller-coaster career.
“It’s frustrating. I mean, poor guy,” Rodriguez said. “He’s getting himself in great shape again, throwing the ball really well, and the bat hits him in the elbow. You feel bad for him.”
First baseman Jason Giambi also departed in the fourth because of back spasms. Giambi plans to play Monday night against Baltimore.
Hinske’s bat broke as he grounded out to first. Wright tried to brace himself but stepped right in the path of the barrel, which bruised and cut his right elbow. He fell down holding his arm.
Wright tested his elbow by throwing some warmup pitches, but was replaced by Al Leiter. X-rays were negative.
New York manager Joe Torre didn’t like what he saw when Wright threw the warmup pitches.
“Everything was up,” Torre said. “I know he wanted to stay in the game but I think it was the best thing to do.”
The early exit forced the Yankees to use three relievers.
Wright (5-3) allowed four runs—three earned—and five hits in 2 1-3 innings. The right-hander, signed to a $21 million, three-year deal last offseason, went 2-2 with a 9.15 ERA in three April starts before missing nearly four months with a shoulder injury.
After he came back, he was knocked out of a game in Seattle on Sept. 1 when he was hit in the collarbone by Raul Ibanez’s line drive. Wright was able to make his next start, however.
“If you got something that is bruised or tight it affects you a lot more than being hit in the neck,” he said.
Vernon Wells had three hits and had two RBIs for the Blue Jays, who ended a three-game skid.
Batista worked the ninth for his 28th save in 35 chances. He gave up an RBI double to Robinson Cano with two outs before freezing Jeter, leaving the Yankees’ captain 2-for-17 lifetime against the right-hander.
New York went 5-1 on its road trip.
“We’ve been playing good for a while,” Jeter said. “Hopefully, we can continue to do it when we get home.”
Former Yankees starter Ted Lilly (9-10) won for the first time since July 19. The 29-year-old left-hander, sidelined in August because of a shoulder injury, allowed three runs—two earned—and five hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
“I felt good,” Lilly said. “I was able to keep them at bay just enough.”
Hinske hit an RBI single in the first, and the Blue Jays scored three runs in the second on Russ Adams’ RBI grounder and Wells’ two-run single.
Rodriguez hit his two-run homer off the left-field foul screen in the third.
Hinske added an RBI grounder in the fifth, giving Toronto a 5-2 lead.
“If you want to beat those guys you have to bury them,” Toronto’s Gregg Zaun said. “They have one big-name guy after another and they always seem to come up with big hits.”
Torre was having dinner on Saturday when Billy Crystal called him to tell him Boston and Cleveland won. … The Yankees haven’t decided who will be removed from the rotation when Mike Mussina returns from the disabled list Thursday, Friday or Saturday. “We’re too involved in a pennant race to concern ourselves with uncertainty. The uncertainty fits in with the energy we need to play these final two weeks,” Torre said. … Toronto 3B Shea Hillenbrand walked in the first inning, his first since Aug. 7. … Andy Phillips replaced Giambi. … Leiter allowed one run and three hits in 3 2-3 innings. … The Yankees had won five straight one-run games.
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