Lidle wins Yankees debut as New York pounds Toronto

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees' rotation is coming together and Cory Lidle is primed to be a big part of its success.

Lidle pitched six effective innings in his first start with the Yankees and Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer to help New York beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 on Thursday for its fourth straight win.

Lidle allowed one run and four hits on a steamy afternoon at Yankee Stadium in his first outing since being acquired from the Phillies on Sunday. New York sent four minor-league prospects to Pladelphia for Lidle and right fielder Bobby Abreu, who had three hits and is 5-for-13 in three games since joining his new club.

"Since the trade, I was just thinking about this day and mentally preparing to not get too excited," Lidle said. "I knew I was going to have some extra adrenalin out there so I was really doing what I needed to do just to stay calm, you know, just try not to do too much."

Giambi also hit an RBI double during New York's three-run sixth that made it 8-1. Craig Wilson, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, added a two-run single.

"He's a guy that's not afraid to compete," Giambi said of Lidle, with whom he played at South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif., and again with Oakland in the majors. "He's not afraid of contact. He goes out there and he gives you a lot of innings and that's definitely something we need, especially in the second half."

Toronto's Ryan Roberts homered for his first major-league hit. The Blue Jays lost their season-high fifth in a row to fall 8½ games behind the AL East-leading Yankees and finish a 2-8 road trip.

"We knew coming in here it wasn't going to be easy," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They shut us down. They shut down a good-hitting team."

Lidle (1-0) struck out five and walked two to win his fifth consecutive start and continue New York's string of strong pitching performances. Yankees starters allowed two runs in 19 innings in the three-game sweep of the Blue Jays, who entered play Thursday with a major league-best .292 team batting average.

Lidle got off to a good start, retiring the Blue Jays in order in the first on three grounders.

"Right then, I knew that I wasn't overthrowing," Lidle said. "I knew I was getting that sink that I usually get so I was very comfortable out there."

The Yankees made his debut easier with three runs in the bottom half. Derek Jeter hit a one-out single off Shaun Marcum to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, tying his season high. Alex Rodriguez walked and Giambi hit Marcum's first pitch into the bleachers in right-center for his 31st homer.

"If there's guys on, it definitely helps me out hitting-wise so they can't play the extreme shift on me," Giambi said, "and I was ready to hit that first pitch and didn't miss it."

Marcum (1-1) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and four hits in his fourth career start.

Brian Tallet relieved Marcum with two runners on in the third and walked Giambi on four pitches before Wilson flied out to right to end the inning. That temporarily stopped New York, which went on to score two in the fifth and three in the sixth to break it open.

"We're a bunch of pretty tired guys right now," Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun said. "We need to go home and regroup."

Lidle worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second and retired seven in a row before Roberts homered with two outs in the fifth. Yankees manager Joe Torre lifted him after six innings and 80 pitches in the balmy conditions and relievers Scott Proctor, Kyle Farnsworth and Sidney Ponson combined to throw three scoreless innings

"We're playing with a lot of confidence," Torre said. "The effort that we're getting from everybody, the personality of this club, I couldn't be more pleased."

The gametime temperature was 97 degrees as much of the East and Midwest continued to deal with a stifling heat wave. The Yankees offered free water at various points throughout the stadium, opened some air-conditioned suites to use as cooling rooms and aired public address announcements from Torre and pitcher Mike Mussina
urging fans to stay hydrated.

Some fans used umbrellas to shield themselves from the heat while others wore light-colored hats or towels around their neck. Misting fans blew cool, wet air on the players in each dugout.

Game notes
Farnsworth took a grounder off his right hand in the eighth and left the game. Torre said he thinks he's going to be fine. ... Neither team took batting practice on the field because of the heat. ... It was the first time the Blue Jays have been swept in a series of three games or more at Yankee Stadium since April 23-25, 1999. ... Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano singled twice and had an RBI grounder in his first minor-league game since being sidelined by a strained left hamstring in late June. Cano is scheduled to play three games for Double-A Trenton starting Friday and rejoin the Yankees next Tuesday.