Blue Jays 8, Yankees 6
Menechino came off the bench to drive in three runs, Eric Hinske hit a go-ahead double and Toronto rallied past New York 8-6 on Sunday.
“They don’t quit. If I don’t get in the way we might have a good year,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Gary Sheffield homered and drove in three runs for the slumping Yankees (10-15), who blew a 6-3 lead and finished 3-6 on their homestand—losing series to the Rangers, Angels and Blue Jays.
New York dropped 7 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Baltimore, its largest deficit since September 1997.
“The Baltimore Orioles are not what I’m concerned about. What I’m concerned about is our ballclub. We’ve had leads in the past that have disappeared when teams got hot. We have to be that team that gets hot,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
“I don’t care how good you are or how good you’re supposed to be. You have to go out there and start winning regularly or your confidence isn’t where you want it to be,” he said. “I don’t think I have to tell them anything. They’re here. They witnessed what I witnessed.”
With the score tied at 6, Hillenbrand and Hinske hit consecutive doubles off Mike Stanton (0-1) in the seventh to give Toronto the lead.
Hinske stole third and dashed home on Gregg Zaun’s shallow sacrifice fly to center, making it 8-6.
“I had Hinske 0-2 and I let him beat me. There’s no excuse,” Stanton said. “Coming into the season, everyone thought the bullpen would be a strength for us. It hasn’t turned out to be that way. Track record says it’s going to get better.”
“It’s great because we came in here, and the New York media not once talked about what we were doing. It was just, what’s wrong with the Yankees? We don’t care about the Yankees,” Hillenbrand said.
Pete Walker (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 hitless innings for the win. Scott Schoeneweis retired Jorge Posada with two on to end the seventh, then worked a perfect eighth. Miguel Batista got three straight outs for his seventh save in eight chances.
“We showed what we’re made of,” Schoeneweis said.
Sheffield put the Yankees ahead with a two-run double during a four-run fifth. Posada added a sacrifice fly and Hideki Matsui an RBI double to make it 6-3, but Toronto executed a fine relay to throw out Alex Rodriguez at the plate and end the inning.
It didn’t take the Blue Jays long to pull even. They loaded the bases with none out in the sixth, chasing Pavano. Alex Rios hit a sacrifice fly, and Menechino tied it with a two-out, two-run single on a 1-2 pitch from Paul Quantrill.
Menechino entered in the fourth inning to replace second baseman Orlando Hudson, shaken up after colliding with an umpire.
“I think my first at-bat got me locked in,” Menechino said. “I don’t mind hitting with two strikes, I think I bear down a little bit better.”
Menechino, who was raised in Staten Island and still lives there, had friends in the Yankee Stadium stands all weekend.
“They’re all Yankee fans anyway,” he said. “I give them tickets so they can see Randy Johnson pitch.”
Rodriguez doubled in the second and scored on Matsui’s sacrifice fly for a 1-0 New York lead.
Rios doubled leading off the third and scored on Hudson’s RBI groundout. Koskie’s fifth home run gave Toronto a 2-1 edge in the fourth.
The Blue Jays went ahead 3-2 in the fifth after Sheffield failed to come up with Frank Catalanotto’s deep fly to right, a catchable ball that went for a double and put runners at second and third. Menechino followed with an RBI groundout.
Hudson was a little dizzy after running into first base umpire Rick Reed while backing up a throw on Tony Womack’s sacrifice bunt in the third. Reed was knocked to the dirt, tumbled over and made the out call from the seat of his pants while facing the outfield. Trainers came out to check on Reed and Hudson. Both stayed in the game—until Hudson was replaced by Menechino in the fourth. Hudson was taken to the hospital for a precautionary CT scan, which was negative, and he returned to the ballpark during the game. Gibbons said he would probably give Hudson a night off Monday in Baltimore. … The Yankees have lost three consecutive series at home for the first time since dropping four in a row in May 2003. … Walker has allowed just one run in 10 2-3 innings this season.
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