Friday, April 28, 2006

Jays Beat The H Out Of Yankees

Halliday, Hillebrand Dominate In 7-2 Win

The match up didn't look good from the start. The Jays had former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halliday on the mound, while the Yankees trotted out the oft-injured, oft-ineffective Jaret Wright. Some games can just be played on paper. Halliday tossed 5 1-3 shutout innings and Yankee-killer Shea Hillenbrand belted a pair of home runs as the Blue Jays rolled over the Yankees 7-2.

Though a win was improbable, a couple of calls by the umpiring crew made matters worse. After Russ Adams led off the ball game with a walk, Frank Catalanotto appeared to strike out on a 2-2 pitch. Only thing was home plate umpire Larry Poncino didn't see it that way. Overhead replays clearly showed the back-up fastball cross home plate. Catalanotto took advantage by drilling a fastball in to the right field seats for a 2-0 lead.

The Yankees had at least one baserunner on in each of the first five innings, including two more hits for Derek Jeter, but couldn't push a run across against Halliday. Wright settled down after his shaky first inning and the game was still 2-0 when the Jays came to bat in the sixth. Wright was sent to the showers after giving up a lead off walk to Catalanotto and an infield single to Vernon Wells. Joe Torre signaled for the surprisingly effective Scott Proctor. Things started out well for Proctor. After getting Troy Glaus on a deep fly to left, he struck out first baseman Lyle Overbay for the second out of the inning. That brought up Hillenbrand who was already batting .323 with 5 home runs and 31 RBI in 65 games against the Yankees, but came into the game with only 1 home run and 7 RBI on the season. The Yankees are his cure-all though. Hillebrand crushed a Proctor hanger deep into the night and over the wall in left-center for a 5-0 Blue Jays lead.

Halladay missed a start earlier in the month due to a strained forearm and the Blue Jays have kept him on a strict pitch count for his two outings since then. Halliday's 99th and last pitch got Alex Rodriguez to ground out for the first out of the sixth inning. Manager John Gibbons opted for lefty Scott Schoeneweis with 3 of the next 4 hitters batting from the left side. Jason Giambi grounded out, but Hideki Matsui drew a walk, bring switch-hitter Bernie Williams up to the plate from the right side. Williams came into the game hitting only .182 from the left side, but .313 from the other side of the batter's box. Burn "Baby" Bernie belted a 2-run shot to deep center for his first home run of the season, cutting the lead to 5-2.

The Yankees last threat came and went in the eighth with a poor at-bat and an even worse umpiring call. Reliever Justin Speier gave up a lead off single to Rodriguez and a free pass to Giambi, his 23rd walk of the season. Gibbons wasted no more time bringing in his closer B.J. Ryan for a six-out save situation. Matsui flied to deep right for the first out with Rodriguez advancing to third. That brought Williams up again from the right side. This time though, Williams hit a slow grounder to third, that Troy Glaus fielded and started an around the horn double play. Williams beat second baseman Aaron Hill's one hop throw to first, but umpire Bruce Dreckman called him out to end the inning. Joe Torre came out to argue the blown call to no avail.

Tayon Sturtze continued to show in the ninth inning that his days in pinstripes could be numbered. After retiring Overbay to start the inning, Hillebrand belted his second home run of the night into the left field seats. Bengie Molina's single was then followed by a double by Alex Rios. Hill's sacrifice fly brought in the 7th and final run.


The baseball world received terrible news during the game when it was announced that former Yankee Steve Howe had been killed in a car accident in Coachella, California. Howe was traveling back from Arizona when his pickup truck flipped and rolled over. Howe was just 48 years old. He is survived by his wife, Cindy, daughter Chelsi and son Brian.

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