Mussina beats Blue Jays for 16th victory


NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Mussina and Joe Torre enjoyed a quiet day
at the ballpark -- especially because their team won.

With only 8,848 fans at Yankee Stadium for a makeup date, New
York made plenty of noise with its bats Monday and beat the Toronto
Blue Jays 9-3.

"It was peaceful, but it was OK," Torre said. "As long as the
players aren't yawning, it's all right. I don't mind."

The manager had an easy day, watching Hideki Matsui drive in
three runs and Mike Mussina pitch seven effective innings for the
AL East leaders.

The Yankees lead the majors with an average home attendance of
nearly 44,000, and the stadium was filled with three straight
sellout crowds over the weekend to see Boston. But on a work day
and school day, few fans showed up to see a game that was scheduled
for July 22 but rained out.

This was the smallest crowd at Yankee Stadium since 8,112 saw
the Chicago White Sox on Oct. 1, 2001 -- a makeup for a game
originally set for Sept. 11.

It was so sedate in the early innings that the biggest cheer
came when two grown men raced for a foul ball into one of the many
empty sections in the upper deck.

"I heard that," Mussina said. "Those guys were running for
that ball and everybody was cheering for them."

The Yankees extended their division lead to three games over the
Red Sox, who played later at Baltimore. New York ended the Blue
Jays' three-game winning streak and stopped their 22-inning
scoreless streak.

Mussina (16-7) was given a three-run lead in the first inning
and kept the Yankees ahead before leaving after the seventh. He
earned his 198th career victory, a day after teammate David Wells
also won No. 198.

Mussina struck out eight and took over the AL lead with 183,
passing Boston's Pedro Martinez at 178. He fanned league RBI
leader Carlos Delgado three times, and has certainly seen him
enough -- Mussina went 3-2 in six starts against Toronto this year.

"Coming off the big weekend, to have to play a game that's in
the daytime, it's the kind of game that can be tough to be
motivated for," Mussina said. "It turned out to be a nice day."

"When you come to this park, you expect it to be electric, and
it has been this year. Today was a good day for the fan who never
gets close to the action," he said. "It reminds me of when I
first came to the big leagues and the Yankees weren't as successful
as they have been lately, and sometimes this park was sparsely

Matsui hit his 40th double and a pair of singles, and slumping
Jason Giambi went 2-for-3 with two walks. Derek Jeter and Alfonso
Soriano also each had three of the Yankees' 16 hits -- the same
total they had in the whole series against the Red Sox.

Kelvim Escobar (10-9) was tagged for eight runs and 10 hits in
just 3 1-3 innings. Two of the runs were unearned, one because of
his own throwing error on Giambi's bases-loaded tapper in the
opening inning.

"It was an unusual series, but it doesn't throw us off," Blue
Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. "Kelvim wasn't at the top of his
game today."

Matsui hit a two-run single in the first inning, and added an
RBI single in a four-run fourth that made it 8-2.

Matsui's 95 RBI are the most by a Yankees rookie since Joe
DiMaggio had 125 in 1936. Matsui had good timing, too, because fans
received Hideki Matsui bobblehead dolls.

"It was more of a relaxed atmosphere" after Sunday's win over
Boston, Matsui said through a translator.

Giambi got two hits after starting the game in a 1-for-40 rut.
Torre had planned to rest the slugger, but reconsidered after
seeing Giambi's past numbers against Escobar.

Giambi's lone hit in his long skid was a home run off Escobar
last week, and Giambi was 10-for-23 with three homers lifetime off
the Toronto righty.

Orlando Hudson hit a two-run double in the Toronto second. He
doubled and scored on Vernon Wells' third hit in the fifth.

Game notes
Yankees C Jorge Posada got a day off for rest. ... New York
finished 10-9 against Toronto this season. ... The Yankees have 20
regular-season games left this year. Except for a three-game series
against Chicago, they'll be playing sub-.500 teams the rest of the
way. ... 2B Hudson ran all over the field. He made a sensational
diving catch in short right on John Flaherty's soft liner, ranged
nearly to medium center and almost caught Soriano's flare and
tumbled over the first-base tarp trying for a foul pop.