By HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Andy Pettitte pitched five sparkling innings in
his return from a broken leg and his bullpen barely held on,
keeping the New York Yankees atop the AL East with a 4-2 victory
over the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of Wednesday’s day-night
Pettitte (4-3) looked his old steely self in giving up four hits
in his first September start since 2010. The 40-year-old
left-hander, injured on June 27, boosted the Yankees into a
half-game division lead over the pesky Baltimore Orioles.
Robinson Cano had an RBI double in a three-run first against
Henderson Alvarez (9-13) that also included Alex Rodriguez’s
run-scoring groundout and Curtis Granderson’s sacrifice fly.
Alfonso Soriano escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth after
Toronto closed to 3-2, and New York extended a winning streak to
three for the first time since Aug. 13-15.
In the makeup of a game washed out Tuesday night, Ichiro Suzuki
had three hits batting leadoff as Derek Jeter was given the opener
off. Jeter was expected to play shortstop in the nightcap for the
first time in a week because of a sore left ankle.
Pettitte threw 75 pitches in his first start since a line drive
off the bat of Cleveland’s Casey Kotchman broke his left fibula.
Joe Girardi mixed and matched liberally, using six relievers
Clay Rapada, Derek Lowe, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan held
Toronto scoreless through seven innings. Then David Robertson gave
up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson and a run-scoring
double to Omar Vziquel in the eighth.
Soriano relieved with two outs and runners on second and third,
then walked Anthony Gose after a foul drive about a foot foul down
the left-field line that just missed being a two-run double. Rajai
Davis followed with a sinking liner to left field that Suzuki
caught against his stomach for the third out, getting a big cheer
from the sparse makeup game crowd.
Nick Swisher had an RBI single in the bottom half. Soriano
pitched a perfect ninth for his 41st save in 44 chances.
Toronto’s 45-year-old Omar Vizquel had two hits to move past
Babe Ruth for 41st on the career list at 2,873.
The Blue Jays, playing their first doubleheader against the
Yankees since 1986, were without Yunel Escobar, who began a
three-game suspension for wearing eye black displaying anti-gay
slur written in Spanish during a game last weekend against Boston.
he few fans who made it for the start gave Pettitte as loud a
cheer when he was introduced.
Pettitte struggled a bit with his command, walking two, but kept
the Blue Jays from hitting the ball hard with a biting breaking
ball. He put runners on in each of his first four innings and had
runner on third in the second through fourth innings. But he got
timely groundouts in the second, third _ a double play _ and fourth
to avoid trouble.
NOTES: Robinson has a 7.00 ERA in September. … Alvarez allowed
five hits in seven innings and struck out a career-high seven. …
Toronto DH Edwin Encarnacion (sore right big toe) was not in the
starting lineup for the opener. … The Blue Jays will play another
doubleheader Monday, making up an Aug. 26 postponement at
Baltimore. They will play nine games in seven days. … To make
room for Pettitte on the 40-man roster, the Yankees recalled RHP
Dellin Betances from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and placed him on the
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)