Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2
Wang could only watch when Vernon Wells’ tapper rolled to a stop and the Blue Jays suddenly broke loose, rallying for three runs in the seventh inning to beat New York 3-2 Thursday and end the Yankees’ five-game winning streak.
“This is one of those games when you wish the result was different, but there isn’t much you could’ve done differently,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Not when a 45-foot single that nestles in the grass near the line becomes the key play.
“The difference was we got the big hit. We picked up each other up, even though one of the hits wasn’t much,” Toronto’s Lyle Overbay said.
With Wang holding an early lead, the Yankees appeared poised to complete a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays for the first time since 1995.
Instead, Dustin McGowan (6-5) and Toronto had other ideas. McGowan steadied himself from a tough start and kept the Blue Jays close, and it soon was their turn to come back.
“It’s huge. It’s huge for us to get out of here, especially with that kind of win,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Toronto trailed 2-0 when Matt Stairs led off the seventh with a long fly for a double. That was a change for the Blue Jays—by the fourth inning, all but two of their batters had grounded out against Wang’s sinker.
In fact, some fans in the sellout crowd of 53,857 hung signs from the upper deck counting Wang’s groundball outs, the way “K” placards are posted for strikeouts.
Wang, who had won seven straight decisions, jammed Wells and the powerful No. 3 hitter managed just a slow tapper up the third-base line. It did plenty of damage, though, as Wang had no play.
Troy Glaus followed with a fly to the warning track in center, allowing Stairs and Wells to tag up. Frank Thomas drove in a run with a one-hop groundout that deflected off Wang’s left ankle, making it 2-1.
“They hit some balls hard,” Wang said. “I didn’t change speeds.”
McGowan gave up four hits in seven innings and improved to 2-0 against the Yankees this season, and Casey Janssen pitched a perfect eighth. Jeremy Accardo worked around a leadoff single by Alex Rodriguez in the ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances.
Bobby Abreu lined a two-run double in the first inning, and that was plenty for a while. Wang (10-5) retired the first 11 batters before Wells broke the string with a double.
Stairs cut over from left field and fielded the ball 10 feet shy of the warning track and Jeter never stopped, sliding home ahead of the relay for a 2-0 lead.
McGowan avoided trouble throughout the game mostly by retiring Rodriguez. The Yankees cleanup hitter grounded out after Abreu’s double, tapped into a double play with two on to end the third and struck out to start the sixth.
“After the first inning, I just quit overthrowing and started pitching,” McGowan said. “The first inning, I was a little excited, which is very easy to do at Yankee Stadium.”
Toronto was 3-for-31 with runners in scoring position during the series until its late rally. … Hideki Matsui extended his hitting streak to a season-high 14 games for New York. … It rained for a few minutes in the third, and the game continued. … Overbay was scratched from Toronto’s starting lineup because of dizzy spells. He pinch-hit in the eighth and grounded into a double play, and stayed in the game at first base. … Little Things You Notice Dept.: When catcher Zaun was left on deck to end the top of the second, McGowan waited a full minute on the mound before anyone came out to catch his warmups. When backup catcher Wil Nieves made the last out in the bottom half, first-string catcher Jorge Posada was ready right away to warm up Wang. … Jeter stole second in the third inning, taking a half-dozen steps when McGowan failed to pay attention in the stretch.