BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- The home runs just keep coming for
the New York Yankees. The wins just seem to follow.
Robin Ventura led off the seventh inning with a solo homer that
put the Yankees ahead for a good as they won for the 12th time
in 13 games, a 6-3 triumph over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ventura homered for the third time in four games and the Yankees
have homered in 12 consecutive games, their longest streak
since August 6-16, 2001.
New York increased its major league-leading home run total to
72, 18 more than the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.
After 45 games last season, the Yankees had homered 49 times.
Despite the abundance of home runs Ventura still does not feel
the offense completely has come together.
"I think everybody would like to see the innings extended with
base hits and some doubles and things like that," Ventura said.
"Then I think that'll be when maybe everybody kind of looks
around and says 'Now you got it going a little bit.'"
The game was tied, 3-3, when Ventura, a lefthanded hitter pulled
a 3-2 pitch from Felix Heredia (0-1) for his 12th homer, tying
him for the league lead.
"(It was a) fastball," Ventura said."It just stayed straight.
If the fence is another 20 feet it would probably go foul."
"He made some good pitches to him," said Blue Jays manager Buck
Martinez about Heredia. "A couple pitches were close and then he
missed with the last pitch and Robin kept it fair. This is one
of the few teams you are in between a rock and a hard place.
You talk about getting into a team's bullpen and that is not
always the best case scenario when you come in and play the
The Yankees padded their lead with two more runs against
Heredia. Shane Spencer's RBI double scored pinch runner Gerald
Williams and Soriano's sacrifice fly capped the scoring.
New York's Sterling Hitchcock, who won Friday's 14-inning
marathon, made an emergency start for Orlando Hernandez, who was
sidelined with a stiff back. He allowed three runs and four
hits in four-plus innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
Hernandez will undergo an MRI Tuesday along with fellow starter
David Wells, who will miss his next start Tuesday due to pain in
his lower back.
"Tommorow both he and Hernandez will go for an MRI," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said. "Mussina will pitch tommorow, Lilly on
Wednesday and we're still searching for Thursday. My guess is
we'll get somebody below. We're not going to move Clemens up,
so it's either Wells or someone from Columbus."
Mendoza escaped trouble by throwing out Vernon Wells at third
base on Dave Berg's sacrifice bunt attempt and retiring Jose
Cruz Jr. and Delgado.
The Blue Jays managed just two hits the rest of the game and
were 3-of-13 with runners in scoring position.
"We had some opportunities and of course Dave Berg had an
opportunity to sacrifice after a couple of walks and then Jose
hits a ball which would have been a sac fly and changed the
complexion of the ballgame. That's the thing you have to do
against the Yankees, is execute. They do it very effectively."
"Not only the effort, but the confidence too," Torre said when
asked if he saw a difference in Mendoza's effort. "You kick
yourself if you watch Hitchcock run out of gas in the fifth. But
I think as it turned out, it was better that he came into some
trouble and got of trouble. I think that gives him more
The Yankees tied it in the fourth on rookie Nick Johnson's base
hit with one out. But they left the bases loaded in the fourth
and fifth against Scott Eyre, who relieved Blue Jays starter
Lyon was roughed up for three runs -- two earned -- and eight
hits in 3 2/3 innings. It was his shortest outing of the season.
"I got to do a better job of going deeper into the game and give
our bullpen a little less work," Lyon said. "It's tough to have
our bullpen come in for over five innings and win the game."