TORONTO (AP) _ Brandon Morrow and two relievers combined on a
five-hitter, pitching the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-0 victory over
New York on Thursday night that trimmed the Yankees’ tight lead in
the AL East.
Edwin Encarnacion had three hits and three RBIs for Toronto.
Brett Lawrie hit a two-run homer and J.P. Arencibia added a solo
shot as the Blue Jays handed an assist to idle Baltimore, shaving
New York’s division lead over the Orioles to one game.
New York lost for the third time in five games and wasted a
chance to go two up with six to play.
Making his third start since missing 14 games with a sore right
shoulder, Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova (12-8) allowed four runs
and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.
Nova, knocked out in the third inning of his previous start, has
not won back-to-back outings since a five-start winning streak from
May 25 to June 17. The 87 extra-base hits off Nova are the most
yielded by any big league pitcher.
Morrow (9-7) scattered four hits over seven innings, walked
three and struck out three to win for the first time in five
starts. It was his longest outing since returning from the disabled
list Aug. 25 after missing 65 games with a strained muscle in his
Brad Lincoln worked the eighth and Darren Oliver finished for
the Blue Jays, who have won three of four following a seven-game
Morrow got some help from his defense after Robinson Cano’s
one-out single in the fourth. Rookie left fielder Anthony Gose
crashed into the wall to haul in a deep drive from Nick Swisher,
then threw the ball into second baseman Kelly Johnson, who doubled
off Cano at first.
Cano doubled to begin the seventh and Swisher walked but Morrow
fanned Curtis Granderson, then got Russell Martin and Raul Ibanez
to fly out.
Nova ran into trouble after walking Gose to begin the fourth.
Lawrie followed with an opposite-field homer to right, his 10th of
the season and first since July 22.
Gose led off with a single in the fifth, went to second on
Lawrie’s groundout and moved to third on a bunt single by Colby
Rasmus. That brought up Encarnacion, who drove in both runners with
a double into the right-field corner.
Even with the infield drawn in, New York couldn’t stop Toronto
from making it 5-0 against Derek Lowe in the seventh when Lawrie
scored on Encarnacion’s grounder to shortstop. Arencibia capped the
scoring with a second-deck homer off David Aardsma in the eighth,
Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was greeted with a smattering
of boos during his first home game since wearing eye-black with an
anti-gay slur. A few fans booed when Escobar’s name was announced
as the lineups were read before the game. There was a mix of boos
and cheers as Escobar batted in the bottom of the first, lining out
on Nova’s first pitch. Escobar’s subsequent at-bats drew almost no
reaction from the crowd of 23,060.
NOTES: New York OF Brett Gardner, who came off the 60-day DL
this week after missing 142 games with a strained right elbow, took
part in two sets of batting practice before the game. It’s the
first time he’s taken BP since rejoining the team. … Yankees 3B
Alex Rodriguez, who did not play in Wednesday’s victory at
Minnesota, started at DH. Jayson Nix was at third base. Manager Joe
Girardi said Rodriguez could return to third base during this
series, possibly Friday. Rodriguez went 0 for 2 and has one hit in
his last 16 at-bats. … New York 1B Mark Teixeira (strained left
calf) had seven at-bats in a simulated game and will do the same
Friday or Saturday, Girardi said. … Aardsma pitched in a major
league game for the first time since Sept. 19, 2010. He missed the
past two seasons following hip and elbow operations.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)