NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees completed the sweep of the <Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees (38-33) are now tied with the first-place Blue Jays in the loss column but trail by a 1½ games, because the Jays (41-33) have won three more games.
The sweep of the Blue Jays in the Bronx shouldn't really come as any surprise, considering the Yankees have now beaten Toronto 16 straight times at the Stadium.
For starters: David Phelps pitched an excellent game, going seven innings and allowing just two runs on six hits. He is 3-4 with a 4.13 ERA.
Leg man: In the third, Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second and moved to third on a single.
With one out, he scored on a relatively short sac fly to left. It was an aggressive move by Ellsbury. It would have been a close play, but the Blue Jays were hurried, so catcher Erik Kratz couldn't hold on to Melky Cabrera's throw. It gave the Yankees a lead they never relinquished.
The Yankees are 15-3 when leading after the first inning.
Melk Man delivers: Cabrera tied the game in the top of third with his 11th homer of the year, a two-run shot off Phelps. Phelps would allow nothing else.
Escape from the fifth: Colby Rasmus led off the fifth with a double. He was on third with two outs when Cabrera hit a hard comebacker off Phelps. Phelps had trouble locating it. When he finally did, he pounced on it and barely threw out Cabrera to sustain the Yankees' one-run lead.
Belt-tran: Carlos Beltran smacked a two-out RBI double in the fifth to extend the Yankees' lead to 4-2. He scored Ellsbury, who had singled and stole a base.
Jeter Meter: Jeter had two more singles during a 2-for-5 night and a strikeout. He is now 15-for-37 in his last nine games.
Tying run: In ninth, Matt Thornton allowed a one-out single to Rasmus. This brought Adam Warren into the game to face Munenori Kawasaki, who represented the tying run. Warren forced Kawasaki to line out to center before making Jose Reyes groundout to second.
A Pop-out non-out: Normally, when you pop up a ball into the first baseman's glove, you don't end up at first. Not in the fourth on Thursday.
On a popup from Dioner Navarro, Encarnacion got in Mark Teixeira's way. Teixeira caught the ball anyway. Initially, first-base ump Jordan Baker called Encarnacion for interference and ruled it a double play.
After a long argument with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, the umpires eventually decided Encarnacion was out for interference, but since it was not intentional -- he was on the basepath -- the umps still rewarded Navarro first base. That is the umpires' right as part of Rule 7.08b. The ruling is based on the ball being dead once there is interference.
So Teixeira caught Navarro's popup, but Navarro got first base. It was strange. Anyway, no runs were scored in the inning.
The Yankees announced Johnson bruised fingers on his left hand. X-rays were negative. He is day-to-day. Johnson had a sac fly in the second.
On-deck: The Orioles come to the Bronx for three. Here are your pitching matchups:
Sunday is a late start because it is Old Timers Day.