Weaver strikes out seven, walks none


TORONTO (AP) -- Jeff Weaver called it his best start as a Yankee.

Weaver scattered four hits over a season-high eight innings and Jason Giambi homered in his third straight game as New York beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 Sunday.

"I'd like to think it was," Weaver said. "I'm surprised I had as many strikeouts as I did. Toronto has a pretty good hitting club."

Weaver (5-7) allowed just one run while striking out a season-high seven and walking none for just his second win in his last nine starts.

Yankee manager Joe Torre also said it was Weaver's best start, especially considering who he was facing.

Torre said that Weaver has had three straight quality starts and that Weaver has sought out his advice more often in the last two weeks than he ever had since being acquired from Detroit last July.

"You can only run your head into the wall so many times before you try something different," said Weaver, who hasn't lived up to expectations since joining the Yankees.

"I love being here. I love the guys I'm playing with, and I want to be successful for them. If somebody else has the right formula for me to be successful, I'm all ears. I want to do whatever it takes to make the adjustment to win here. Hopefully, I'm leaning toward that way," he said.

Before the game, Torre said he didn't know if it was a make-or-break start for Weaver, who could have been moved to be bullpen if he struggled again. That doesn't seem like an option now.

"He's pitching the way we thought he could pitch," Torre said.

Catcher Jorge Posada said Weaver's fastball and location were outstanding.

"He was a lot of fun to catch," Posada said. "He was on. It's probably the best I've ever seen him throw."

Giambi had four RBI, eight in the three-game series. The Yankees, who took two of three from Toronto, moved two games ahead of Boston for first place in the AL East.

It's the seventh straight year New York has led the AL East at the All-Star break.

"If we left spring training and you told me we were going to be 21 games over .500, I'd be very satisfied, not knowing all the potholes we had to work our way through," Torre said. "In spite of the disabled list and all the things that went on, I'm very satisfied with 21 over .500."

The fading Blue Jays went 1-5 in six straight games against the Red Sox and the Yankees. Toronto is nine games behind New York and seven behind Boston.

Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said Weaver was able to throw his breaking pitchers for strikes.

"That's the best I've seen him throw in a long time," Tosca said.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth, giving up the Blue Jays' other hit and an RBI groundout to Carlos Delgado.

Delgado also had an RBI single in the fourth. He leads the majors with 97 RBI, the third most before the All-Star break. Hank Greenberg had 103 in 1935, and Juan Gonzalez had 101 in 1998.

Toronto starter Kelvim Escobar (5-6) allowed five runs on six hits in just 1 1/3 innings, matching the shortest outing of his career. Escobar pitched on three days' rest for just the second time in his career.

Escobar didn't blame the short rest for his struggles.

"I couldn't get the ball down. I just didn't have my stuff," Escobar said. "I don't know what it was."

Giambi's 26th home run, a two-run shot, gave New York a 2-0 lead in the first.

The Yankees scored three runs in the second on Karim Garcia's RBI single, Giambi's bases-loaded walk and Escobar's run-scoring wild pitch.

Reliever Jason Kershner walked Giambi with the bases loaded in the third, giving New York a 6-0 lead.

Game notes
Torre said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is trying hard to make a trade. "I know Brian has been hot on the phone," Torre said. "More so than in the past? Maybe, because there is a need for our bullpen. I expect it's a real possibility." ... Yankees right fielder Raul Mondesi was a late scratch from the starting lineup. Mondesi missed Saturday's game with tendinitis in his left wrist. Mondesi entered the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement. ... Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attended the game. ... Toronto's Orlando Hudson hit two kids with two different foul balls in the fifth. The kids appeared to be OK. ... The Blue Jays play three straight against the Red Sox after the break, then two against New York.