“To come in here and pitch here at this place, with these fans and against this lineup, it’s just a good ballgame all around,” Burnett said. “We came out swinging the bats and I had some good defensive plays to help out.”
Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot that chased Burnett with none out in the seventh. But the hard-throwing right-hander buzzed through New York’s potent lineup to that point, and the Blue Jays’ bullpen closed it out.
The Yankees tried to rally in the ninth, opening the inning with consecutive singles before Jeremy Accardo struck out Rodriguez and retired Jason Giambi on a deep fly. Robinson Cano flied out to end it.
“The first one is always tough, especially here. They’re never out of it,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “But we threw an awful lot of pitching at ‘em.”
Alex Rios hit a pair of RBI singles and scored once, sending Toronto to its first win of 2007. The night before, New York won 3-2 in the 84th and final opener at storied Yankee Stadium, a game that was postponed Monday because of rain.
Wednesday was dry in the Big Apple, but windy and raw. A sign posted on Mussina’s locker in the late afternoon read: “Toronto vs. New York at Lambeau Field. Windchill - 6 degrees.”
The cold weather made it especially uncomfortable for batters facing Burnett (1-0), who mixed his pitches well.
“He was nasty tonight,” Rios said.
Burnett has given the Yankees trouble before. He was 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA in two starts against them last year, allowing one run over 15 innings. He won 6-0 at Yankee Stadium on April 26.
“He’s just a really good pitcher,” New York’s Johnny Damon said. “We didn’t see the best of him tonight. We’ve seen him better. He can really throw hard and he has a great breaking ball. He’s a guy you have to get to early or you may not get to him at all.”
“Accardo saved 30 games for us last year,” Gibbons said. “A lot of guys might wilt in that situation, but he got the big strikeout.”
Wells finished with three hits and Aaron Hill added an RBI single for the Blue Jays, who grounded into five double plays. Still, they chased Mussina (0-1) in the sixth after 91 pitches.
The 39-year-old right-hander is coming off an inconsistent season that included him temporarily losing his spot in the rotation before he finished 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA in September.
Pushed up to pitch the second game of the year because of Andy Pettitte’s back spasms, Mussina gave up four runs—three earned—and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
He remained at 250 wins, one behind Hall of Famer Bob Gibson on the career list.
“I felt good throwing the baseball,” Mussina said. “I just made some mistakes and they took advantage of it.”
A two-time All-Star, Wells had a sub-par 2007 season that ended with shoulder surgery in September. He looked healthy Wednesday night, connecting off Mussina in the third with Rios aboard on a two-out walk.
Mussina nearly struck out Rios moments before, but didn’t get a close call from plate umpire Jerry Meals.
“Mike made some quality pitches. I was happy with what I saw,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ll take that outing from him anytime.”
A trainer came out to check on a hobbling Burnett after he tweaked his left knee while making a throwing error on Derek Jeter’s fourth-inning comebacker. Burnett, however, threw two warmup pitches and stayed in the game.
“I just went to plant and it gave out, but it went away. It was no problem,” he said.
Yankees C Jorge Posada was scratched from the lineup because of a stiff right shoulder. He is day to day, Girardi said. … Toronto LF Matt Stairs (sore left hip) was held out of the lineup again. He tested his hip during batting practice and “should be good to go” on Thursday, Gibbons said. … Mussina dropped to 23-12 against Toronto.