Delivers key hit in 5-1 victory
New arrival Bobby Abreu had Yankee Stadium buzzing last night, but it was old veteran that took the spotlight. Bernie Williams, a Yankee since 1991, doubled with the bases loaded in the 4th inning to snap a 1-1 tie and propel the Yankees to a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The victory, combined with the Boston Red Sox loss to the Cleveland Indians, moved the Yankees into a share of 1st place in the AL East.
Abreu received a loud ovation as he ran out to play RF in the 1st inning and was greeted by the Bleacher Creatures with changes of "Bob-by Abre-u". Abreu quickly warmed to the pinstripes. It appeared it could be a long night though as Yankees starter Jaret Wright struggled through 5 innings in blistering heat and humidity. After the game manager Joe Torre referred to it as "battling" through 5. Nice spin there Joe. The Jays took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd when Wright walked Lyle Overbay and hit Aaron Hill. John McDonald took a high fastball to right for an RBI double. Wright retired Reed Johnson on a deep fly to right to escape further trouble.
Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett breezed through the first 3 innings before encountering trouble in the 4th. Derek Jeter led off with a walk and quickly swiped his second base. It was his first of two steals on the night. Jason Giambi's single put runners on the corners for Alex Rodriguez who lined a shot to the gap in right-center for an RBI double to tie the game at 1 apiece. Abreu then quickly fell behind in the count 0-2 and barely checked his swing to avoid a 3rd strike. Jay’s manager John Gibbons didn't agree and barked out at home plate ump Gary Darling and 3rd base ump Ed Hickox. Abreu ended up drawing a walk to load the bases. That's when the Yankee with the longest tenure took over. Williams hit a liner to the gap in left-center just out of the reach of a diving Reed Johnson. The ball rolled to the wall and cleared the bases for a 4-1 Yankees lead. The double was also the 442nd of Bernie's career, tying him with Don Mattingly for 2nd place on the all-time Yankees list. Lou Gehrig sits in the top spot with 534.
Burnett was pulled from the game after the 4th and vented his frustration on one of the dugout water coolers. The rest of the night was up to Wright and the Yankees bullpen. Wright worked many full count at-bats and threw 103 pitches in his 5 inning effort. He managed to scatter 5 hits and walk just 1 though while striking out 5. Ron Villone, Scott Proctor, and Kyle Farnsworth worked the final 4 innings to close out the win.
Derek Jeter was 1-3 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. During the streak, Jeter is 20-40 (.500) during the streak, raising his average to .354. He's not just 13 points behind league leader Joe Mauer.
Alex Rodriguez stole his 10th base. It's the 10th time in his career he's reached double figures in steals.
Octavio Dotel threw 10 pitches in a 1 inning rehab stint for the Gulf Coast Yankees. Dotel struck out two and reached 94 mph on the radar gun.
Robinson Cano will make his 1st rehab appearance tomorrow in Tampa as a designated hitter. The goal is to have Cano back with the Yankees on August 8.
Craig Wilson gets his first start as a Yankee tonight as Chien-Ming Wang faces left-hander Ted Lilly. Wilson will play 1st base.