NEW YORK (AP) -- For Shea Hillenbrand, Friday night didn't start
in the very best way.
Toronto's designated hitter popped out in his first at-bat
against the New York Yankees and then hit into a double play in his
next swing."I didn't feel too good on those first two at-bats,"
Hillenbrand said. "You never know."Hillenbrand followed those swings with a three-run homer in the
sixth and a solo shot in the ninth, powering the Blue Jays to a 7-2
victory.It was the fourth multihomer game of his career and the first
since July 7, 2003 when he hit three with Arizona against Colorado.The homers stretched his hitting streak to eight games. He has
11 hits in his last 16 at-bats and has jumped his average from .217
to .329.Hillenbrand has always had success at Yankee Stadium where he
had a .322 career average coming into this season. "It's the
atmosphere, I think," he said. "I love hitting here."Toronto nursed a 2-0 lead behind Roy Halladay until
Hillenbrand's three-run homer in the sixth. "That gave us some
breathing room," manager John Gibbons said.Halladay pitched in and out of trouble, but got the big outs
when he needed them."When he's healthy, he's as good as any pitcher in baseball,"
said Derek Jeter, who had a pair of hits to stretch his hitting
streak to seven games."He's the best pitcher in the American League, period," said
Johnny Damon. "Fortunately, he didn't have his A game. That shows
how good he is."The Blue Jays struck quickly against Jaret Wright (0-2).Russ Adams drew a leadoff walk and Frank Catalanotto followed
with his second home run of the season, connecting on a 3-2 pitch.Halladay (3-1) allowed seven hits over 5 1-3 innings but worked
his way out of trouble several times, leaving six Yankees runners
stranded.Wright left in the sixth after a walk to Catalanotto and an
infield single by Vernon Wells. Scott Proctor relieved and got two
outs before Hillenbrand hit his second home run of the season,
extending the lead to 5-0.Halladay left after retiring the first batter in the sixth with
his 99th pitch. Scott Schoeneweis relieved and walked Hideki Matsui
with two out. Williams followed with his first home run of the
season on a 3-1 pitch.In the seventh, Jorge Posada opened with a pinch-hit single.
After Damon forced Posada, Justin Speier relieved and struck out
Jeter and Sheffield to end the inning.But in the eighth, Rodriguez led off with a single and Jason
Giambi walked. B.J. Ryan relieved and retired Matsui on a fly ball
before getting Williams to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Ryan earned his fourth save and has allowed just three hits over 12
innings."Our bullpen has been unbelievable," Halladay said. "It's a
big difference from where we were. I'm able to come out after five
innings and the pen picks me up with four innings."The Blue Jays added two in the ninth on Hillenbrand's second
home run of the game and a sacrifice fly by Aaron Hill to make it
Hall of Famer Yogi Berra visited the Yankees clubhouse
before the game. ... The Yankees observed a moment of silence
before the game in memory of Steve Howe, who died in a car accident
earlier Friday. Howe pitched for the Yankees from 1991-96. ...
Wright was making just his third appearance of the season and first
in 13 days. He threw 84 pitches, 44 for strikes. ... Damon's streak
of 19 straight steals ended when Bengie Molina threw him out in the
third. ...The Yankees turned four double plays in the first five