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Yankees fend off Blue Jays for sixth straight win

TORONTO (AP) -- Shawn Chacon gave New York's bullpen a
much-needed rest.

Chacon pitched eight innings of four-hit ball a day after Randy
Johnson's ejection forced New York to use five relievers, and the
Yankees won their sixth straight with a 1-0 victory over the
Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

"The pressure was totally on Chacon and he handled it really
well," manager Joe Torre.

Bernie Williams drove in the lone run with an RBI single for the
Yankees, who are a half-game behind Cleveland in the AL wild-card
race and 1½ games back of first-place Boston in the AL East.

Chacon (5-3) struck out one and walked one. He tied a career
high in innings pitched, done five times previously.

"I knew coming in it was either going to be one of those days
where I struggled, and I was going to have to sit out there and eat
up innings or I was going to pitch good," Chacon said.

"I threw strikes and was able to go late in the game. And the
defense was outstanding."

Both Chacon and Torre said they had no idea if he would stay in
the rotation. Mike Mussina is expected to return from the disabled
list and start Thursday, which is Chacon's regular turn to pitch.

"I don't make the decision so I'm not thinking about it," said
Chacon, who helped the Yankees record their AL-leading 13th
shutout.

Tom Gordon pitched the ninth for his first save in eight
chances. Torre didn't want to use closer Mariano Rivera in four
straight games.

Gordon gave up consecutive singles to Frank Catalanotto and
Vernon Wells, but he struck out Corey Koskie for the first out and
escaped the jam as Shea Hillenbrand grounded into a 5-4-3 double
play.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez made a nice play on the one-hopper
before firing to second baseman Robinson Cano, who relayed it to
first baseman Tino Martinez, who scooped the ball out of the dirt
for the final out.

"To me that was like hitting a walk-off grand slam," Rodriguez
said. "That was fun. With Mo being out today that was a huge win
for us."

Torre also didn't want to use Alan Embree and Tanyon Sturtze
after Friday's victory, which Johnson was ejected from in the
second inning for arguing with plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth.
Johnson apologized Saturday and said he was wrong to let his
emotions get the better of him.

"I knew Mariano had pitched the last couple of days, but I
didn't know he had pitched three in a row so I wasn't thinking
about it," Gordon said.

Jorge Posada led off the second with a double off Gustavo
Chacin, advanced to second on Sierra's single and scored on
Williams' single to left.

Chacin (12-9) allowed one run and eight hits in seven innings.
The rookie left-hander has won just one of his last nine starts.

"Everybody's fighting, everybody's giving the best they can,"
said Chacin, whose team fell three games below .500 (72-75) for the
first time this season. "But Chacon threw a great game. No luck."

Left-fielder Hideki Matsui robbed Reed Johnson of a hit with a
diving catch in the eighth. Shortstop Derek Jeter made a couple of
nice plays, throwing out Gregg Zaun after Zaun hit what looked to
be a single up the middle in the third and making a nice over
shoulder catch on Russ Adams' blooper in the sixth.

Left fielder Ruben Sierra also made a nice running catch on in
fifth with two runners on.

"I didn't expect Ruben to get that close to that ball," Torre
said.

Matsui singled in the sixth and attempted to score from first
after Posada doubled off the wall in center, but the ball bounced
right back to Wells, who threw it second baseman Aaron Hill, who
easily nailed Matsui at home.

Jason Giambi hit a ball into the right-field corner in the
fifth, but Johnson threw him out at second.

Game notes
Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi met with RF Alex
Rios to tell him he won't tolerate lackadaisical play. Manager John
Gibbons pulled Rios from Friday night's game for not running hard
on a routine flyout in the first. "I know I should've run that
ball out," Rios said. "It's not going to happen anymore." ...
Torre said Saturday would have been a good game to play Mark
Bellhorn at 2B with the a left-hander starting, but he didn't
because 2B Cano has been on a tear lately.