On day of messages and hard play, Yankees beat Blue Jays 5-4
Robinson Cano hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a four-run sixth inning, Andy Pettitte won consecutive starts for the first time this season and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Monday to extend their winning streak to four.
Yankees manager Joe Torre and some New York players moved to the top step of the dugout after the pitch to A-Rod, who stared back at plate umpire Mark Carlson and later worked out a walk. When the Yankees last played in Toronto on May 30, Rodriguez distracted infielder Howie Clark on a key popup late in the game, yelling something as he approached third base.
Litsch denied throwing at Rodriguez.
“It was a just a two-seamer that got away from me,” Litsch said. “I’m not going to give away the inside. I go inside a lot.”
Torre said it was a little late for sending messages, given that the Yankees and Blue Jays met in the Bronx last month.
“They played us four games at our place,” Torre said. “Unless they didn’t care about doing it there and they did it here, that doesn’t make sense.”
In the fourth, Rodriguez slid hard into shortstop John McDonald while trying to break up a double play in the fourth, swiping his left arm in anger and yelling at second base umpire Derryl Cousins.
Rodriguez said after the game that he couldn’t remember the pitch behind him, then walked away without answering when asked about the play at second base.
McDonald also had little to say on the matter.
“I didn’t hear anything,” he said. “I was just running off the field.”
“I had to hustle and I screamed at him `Heads up’ because I don’t think he was expecting to see me there that quick,” Damon said.
Two days after hitting his 500th home run, Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a walk, moving his average back up to .301.
New York improved to 19-7 since the All-Star break, moved 12 games over .500 for the first time this year and stopped Toronto’s home winning streak at eight.
“We just have a lot of confidence right now,” Torre said. “Hopefully, we can continue to build on it.”
The Yankees, 9 1/2 games back in the wild-card race after play on July 7, remained a half-game behind Detroit, the AL wild-card leader.
“It’s been a crazy year overall but we’re in a nice place right now,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve just got to keep building momentum.”
Designated hitter Jason Giambi, out since June 1 with a left foot injury, finished a minor league rehab stint Sunday. He will join the Yankees on Tuesday and could be activated.
“I’ll talk to him, see how comfortable he feels and go from there,” Torre said.
With the Yankees playing a team with a winning record for the first time since July 8, Pettitte (8-7) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings with seven strikeouts and four walks, improving to 41-16 in August. In his 300th start for the Yankees, Pettitte tied Waite Hoyt for eighth on the team’s victory list (157).
“It was another one of those gutsy outings where he just battled, battled, battled,” Torre said.
“That’s very good back-to-back stuff he’s shown us yesterday and today,” Torre said.
Melky Cabrera, who had three hits, tripled and scored on Damon’s grounder in the third, but Thomas hit a two-run double in the bottom half and Wells singled in a run in the fifth.
Bobby Abreu walked and Rodriguez singled, chasing Litsch. Hideki Matsui greeted Scott Downs (1-2) with an RBI single, Jorge Posada struck out and Cano doubled to left-center for a 4-3 lead. One out later, Cabrera hit an RBI single through the right side.
“He’s been displaying real good baseball skills lately,” Damon said. “It’s coming at a good time.”
Torre said Cabrera and Cano have given the Yankees needed spark.
“They are really special,” Torre said. “They’ve given us a ton of energy the last couple of years.”
Called up from Triple-A before the game after left-hander Mike Myers was designated for assignment, Jim Brower relieved Pettitte with runners at first and second in the sixth and retired Reed Johnson on an inning-ending lineout.
Aaron Hill homered off Luis Vizcaino in the eighth, which ended when Johnson grounded out with two on.
Litsch allowed three runs and six hits in five-plus innings.
Soccer star David Beckham and his Los Angeles Galaxy teammates watched the game from a private suite, and Beckham spoke with Torre before the game. Canadian teammates Ante Jazic and Kevin Harmse threw out ceremonial first pitches. … The crowd of 42,714 was Toronto’s biggest since opening day.