Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez hit two-run homers and the New
York Yankees survived a late Toronto rally by using four relievers
in the ninth inning of a 7-6 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday
New York reduced its magic number to clinching the AL East for a
ninth straight season to three. The Yankees could wrap up the
division title during the seven-game road trip to Toronto and Tampa
Rivera, one of baseball's best closers of all-time, has been
sidelined since Aug. 31 by a muscle strain near his right elbow.
How much he is missed was apparent in that ninth inning when
Toronto scored three runs to get within one and had a runner on
base when the last out was finally recorded.
"There's only one Mo. You get spoiled with him pitching the end
of games because when he comes in 99 percent of the time it's over
with," Jeter said.
Rivera is scheduled for another bullpen session Tuesday and
could be pitching in games by Friday.
"He's getting a little antsy right now. He's been in a lot more
playful mood lately than he was for 10 days or so," manager Joe
Jeter hit a two-run homer, his 14th, off A.J. Burnett (8-8) in
the seventh inning to give New York a 4-3 lead.
The Yankees added three runs in the ninth but Toronto matched
that in the bottom half, forcing New York to use four pitchers in
the final inning. Jose Veras got the last out for the first save of
Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the sixth, his 34th this season
and the 463rd of his career -- moving him into sole possession of
29th place on the all-time list, two behind former Yankee Dave
Winfield. The home run brought the Yankees within 3-2.
Torre said Rodriguez's homer woke them up after they played four
games in two days against Boston, losing three.
"It's as tired I've seen our group in maybe three years,"
Rodriguez said. "It's just good to have one game."
Darrell Rasner (3-0) won on three days' rest, allowing three
runs and six hits over six innings. Rasner started in place of Cory
Lidle, who has tendinitis in his right index finger.
"It was a struggle throughout, but I got through it," Rasner
Burnett allowed four runs and seven hits over seven innings as
the Blue Jays had a four-game winning streak snapped.
"Two mistakes all night, it got away," Burnett said. "They
did what they are supposed to do with it."
Jeter had a 25-game hitting streak ended Sunday. ... New
York CF Johnny Damon was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Miller
for arguing a called strike on teammate Hideki Matsui. In the fifth
inning, Miller ruled that Matsui went around on a checked swing for
strike three. Damon argued with Miller from the on-deck circle and
was thrown out of the game. It was the first time Damon was ejected
this season. Aaron Guiel replaced Damon. ... Rodriguez accidentally
smacked first base umpire Eric Cooper in the mouth while running
down the line on an infield single in the eighth.