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Weaver takes shutout into the eighth inning

4/17/2003

NEW YORK -- Warming up in the bullpen, Jeff Weaver noticed
his fastball didn't have its usual hop.

No problem. He made a few adjustments and pitched the New York
Yankees to a 4-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

"My fastball was for show today," Weaver said after combining
with reliever Chris Hammond on a five-hitter. "My curve and slider
were for outs. I was glad I made the early adjustment and didn't
wait until the fourth or fifth inning to figure it out."

Weaver took a shutout into the eighth and Hammond got the final
four outs. Yankees manager Joe Torre was impressed with Weaver's
work.

"He had to feel his way for a while," Torre said. "He's a
grinder. He challenges people. He's a tough kid."

Weaver was in a scoreless duel with Toronto starter Pete Walker
(1-1) until the fifth inning, when Raul Mondesi led off with a home
run. An inning later, Alfonso Soriano hit a first-pitch homer.
After three walks loaded the bases, Hideki Matsui delivered a
two-run double against reliever Doug Creek.

"I hung a couple of sliders," Walker said. "I got them in the
wrong location and they took care of them."

Mondesi opened the fifth inning with his third home run of the
season, and Soriano hit the first pitch in the sixth for his fifth
homer.

Matsui's double gave Weaver (1-0) some extra cushion. He allowed
just three hits in 7 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked three.
Yankees starters improved to 10-0 for the first time in franchise
history.

The loss was the seventh in the last eight games for the Blue
Jays, who are 1-6 against New York this year.

"It's not frustrating to play them," Blue Jays manager Carlos
Tosca said. "It's challenging. They have one of the best teams in
baseball and they come at you with a good starter in every game."

Toronto had its best shot at Weaver in the first inning. Shannon
Stewart opened with a double and shortstop Erick Almonte dropped
Frank Catalanotto's pop fly for an error, giving the Blue Jays
runners at first and second with none out.

But Weaver got Vernon Wells to ground into a double play started
by third baseman Todd Zeile. After walking Carlos Delgado, Weaver
struck out Josh Phelps to end the inning.

The only other hits off Weaver were a two-out double by Eric
Hinske in the fourth and a two-out single by Delgado in the sixth.

Wells led off the ninth with an infield single, and Phelps
singled with one out before Hammond got pinch-hitter Tom Wilson on
a popup to end it.

Walker gave up three runs and three hits in five-plus innings.

Game notes
Gametime temperature was 43 degrees, a drop of 40 degrees
in one day. ... Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson visited with Torre
before the game. ... Yankees pitchers have allowed just four home
runs this season, the lowest total in the majors. ... The Yankees
had only four hits, two by Mondesi.

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