Former Jays Wells, Overbay find the fences as Yankees defeat Toronto 9-4

Associated Press

TORONTO - Former Blue Jays Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay homered to back up a strong pitching performance by veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte as the New York Yankees defeated Toronto 9-4 in American League play Friday night.

The Yankees pounded out three homers, a triple and six doubles in their 13-hit attack.

The Jays (7-10) had seven hits on the night.

Both Wells and Overbay were greeted by boos but went on to quiet the fans with their bats.

Travis Hafner also homered for the Yankees, who profited from some spotty Toronto pitching and fielding before 40,028 at the Rogers Centre. New York (9-6) has now won eight of its last 10.

Jose Bautista, returning to the lineup after missing four games with a sore back, and J.P Arencibia homered for the Jays. Bautista, who went 1-for-3 with a walk, is expected to continue at designated hitter through the weekend before returning to right field for the ensuing series in Baltimore.

After giving up one run in the first, Pettitte found his rhythm. The 40-year-old retired eight in a row starting in the second inning, a stretch that included five strikeouts. He exited after seven and a third innings, having given up three runs on six hits with five strikouts and one walk.

He threw 90 pitches, 61 for strikes, in a polished performance.

Pettitte's streak of consecutive starts without a complete game stretched to 143, not that anyone in the visitors' dugout cared.

It was the 420th game as a Yankee for Pettitte (3-0), tying him with Sparky Lyle in sixth place on New York's all-time games pitched list. The leftie has made 45 career appearances (44 starts) against Toronto.

Toronto starter Brendan Morrow (0-2) was down 5-1 after three innings before he pulled it together. But he was removed with two outs left in the sixth when the Yankees got to him again.

The right-hander gave up two homers and five doubles in his nine-hit, seven-run outing, striking out four and walking one. Morrow threw 89 pitches including 54 strikes.

After a poor start, the Jays are now in a crucial part of their schedule. Friday marked the start of a stretch that sees the team play 30 of its next 35 games — starting with 10 straight — against AL East opposition.

There is much to fix.

The Jays came into the game hitting .229, good for 25th in the majors, although the team ranked ninth in homers with 18.

On the mound, Toronto's much-vaunted pitching staff was 27th with a 4.77 earned-run average.

The Jays, 3-9 in games in which they don't score first, found themselves down 2-0 after the top of the first as Morrow gave up two doubles and hit Kevin Youklis.

Toronto pulled one back quickly when Melky Cabrera's groundout drove in Rajai Davis, who showed off his athleticism in a triple to open the Jays' half of the first.

Morrow was living dangerously, with three doubles and several deep fly balls in the first two innings. Hafner made him pay in the third with a solo home that swerved over the left-field fence for a 3-1 lead. A Wells single and yet another double, this time by Ichiro Suzuki, followed and things turned ugly when both scored on what should have been Eduardo Nunez's routine fly ball to centre field.

Colby Rasmus made the catch but his throw to home plate to keep the two Yankees where they were on base was off line and the ball ricocheted off catcher Arencibia, allowing Wells and Suzuki to score for a 5-1 lead. Rasmus was charged with an error that could have been shared with his catcher.

Morrow wobbled again in the sixth, yielding a solo homer to Overbay (his second of the year) and ground rule double to Francisco Cervelli. Brett Cecil took over for Morrow but couldn't immediately stop the slide as Brett Gardner tripled home Cervelli and then came home on a Robinson Cano groundout to pad the New York lead to 8-1.

Bautista pulled two back in the home half of the sixth, driving in Cabrera with his fourth home run of the season.

Wells then made it 9-3 with a solo shot off Cecil, who had not given up a run in seven previous appearances this season, in the seventh. It was Wells' fourth homer of the season.

Steve Delabar and Darren Oliver closed out for the Jays. Shawn Kelley followed Pettitte, giving up a solo shot to Arencibia (his sixth) with two out in the ninth.

There was some good news for Toronto when Brett Lawrie, from Langley, B.C., got his first hit of the season in the second inning, ending a 0-for-10 run.

NOTES — Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle is slated to make his 400th career start Saturday ... Friday's game was the first of 19 this season against the Yankees.

View Comments (0)