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Soriano bounces back to save Yankees' 2-1 victory

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Rafael Soriano has done a pretty good impression of Mariano Rivera in the results department, if not the style category, for most of this season.

But after blowing just his third save of the year in a stunning loss for the New York Yankees on Monday, Soriano got some tutoring on Tuesday from the injured legend he replaced.

Rivera's advice apparently helped, as Soriano pitched a perfect ninth to wrap up a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Along with seven innings of one-run ball from Phil Hughes (13-11) and an impressive double play made by Robinson Cano, Soriano's 34th save of the season gave the Yankees a much-needed win over Toronto.

For the Blue Jays, it was just another defeat in a season that has seen them languish in last place in the AL East, on a day when a tougher loss came off the field. The Blue Jays announced before the game Jose Bautista would undergo season-ending surgery on his left wrist.

For the Yankees, the victory allowed them to remain 3 1/2 games up on the surprising Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore beat the Chicago White Sox to continue exerting the type of late-season pressure it hasn't applied since its last playoff season in 1997.

Rivera told Soriano to throw fewer sliders, a pitch that came back to bite him Monday on Colby Rasmus' two-out, three-run, go-ahead homer in the ninth. Soriano said he cut back on the pitch Tuesday and got swings and misses on each of them.

"The thing that happened last night, I said, 'All right, tomorrow will be a better day and I would do the best that I can,'" said Soriano. "Mariano came to me today and said, 'Throw your fastball. You can do whatever you want, but don't throw too many sliders because your best pitch right now is your fastball. Why do you got to throw too many sliders?'"

Rivera also helped his replacement this season with a lesson off the field, as he reminded Soriano to face the media after a bad game, something Soriano did not do Monday. Soriano later said he was not told by Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo he was wanted by media, though he acknowledged Rivera had told him last season he should be available after a bad game.

"He said, 'Hey, what did I tell you last year, man? You got to talk to these guys,'" Soriano said Rivera told him. "'... When things happen like that, wait and see because these guys want to talk to you.' I say, 'All right, bro. I know you tell me last year.' I make a mistake because Jason make a mistake.'"

Ricky Romero (8-12) only allowed two runs in seven innings, but lost his 11th game in a row, giving him the longest losing streak for a Blue Jays pitcher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I've been working hard all week, the guys, everyone has kind of been helping me out through this," Romero said. "The only thing is, losing sucks. I'm just gonna build off of this."

Hughes threw seven innings of one-run ball on four hits, allowing Adeiny Hechavarria's first major-league home run and little else.

The Yankees scratched across runs in the third and fourth, and Hughes, David Robertson and Soriano made it stand up.

With a lineup that featured the recently acquired Steve Pearce as the cleanup hitter due to injured Mark Teixeira's absence, the Yankees needed just the kind of game the inconsistent Hughes gave them Tuesday.

"He did a really nice job again," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Mixed in all his pitches."

Cano bailed Hughes out in the sixth, with runners on first and third and one out, when he made a leaping grab of Yunel Escobar's line drive, then fired to third, to double up Rasmus.

"Well, he clearly read that soft liner and thought it was going to be a base hit," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said, when asked if Rasmus got off third too quickly. "But then, even after (Cano) caught the ball, I think (Rasmus) was a little surprised that Cano threw the ball, basically from his hip, and makes a heck of a play. I don't know if there are many second basemen that are even going to attempt a throw, but he did, and unfortunately, he got doubled off."

Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth in his third straight day of work. Soriano also threw for the third straight day, throwing a perfect ninth and striking out two.

The Yankees took a 2-0 lead on a RBI single by Nick Swisher in the third, and a sacrifice fly in the fourth by Curtis Granderson. The fly ball scored Pearce, who led off the inning with a walk and stole second.

Toronto closed within 2-1 on Hechavarria's two-out solo homer to right.

Bautista, who initially injured the wrist during a swing against the Yankees on July 16, said he was not experiencing pain in his wrist, but that the tendon had not felt stable. The surgery was recommended by hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, after Bautista saw him in Cleveland.

The two-time defending major-league home run champion was hitting .241 with 27 homers and 65 RBIs in 92 games this season. He decided to opt for the surgery after consulting Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, who underwent a similar procedure. Fuld had initially chosen to rest the wrist without surgery, but aggravated it in spring training and missed nearly four months of the season.

"There's no need to chance it and have the same thing that happened to him," Bautista said. "It was the right time for it."

Bautista said he should be recovered two months before spring training starts.

NOTES: Teixeira, who sustained a Grade 1 strain of his left calf in Monday's game, said Tuesday he hopes he won't be out for more than a week, but acknowledged he could miss two weeks. ... Third baseman Alex Rodriguez (fractured left hand) took live batting practice before Tuesday's game, the first time he had done so since sustaining the injury. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he thought Rodriguez would need to go on a rehab assignment before returning in September. ... Infielder Casey McGehee was demoted to Class A Charleston (S.C.) to make room for Pearce. The team chose Charleston because it is not in line for a postseason spot after its season ends on Sept. 3, allowing the Yankees to recall McGehee more quickly. ... Blue Jays first-round pick Marcus Stroman was suspended 50 games for using a banned substance, methylhexaneamine. The right-hander for Class AA New Hampshire said in a statement he "unknowingly ingested a banned stimulant that was in an over-the-counter supplement."
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