NEW YORK (AP) -- Gustavo Chacin became the first lefty starter to
win his major league debut against the Yankees in the Joe Torre
era, pitching the Toronto Blue Jays past New York 6-3 Monday night.
With a shaved head, a 19-2 record in the minors and fresh off a
playoff win at Double-A, Chacin held the AL East leaders to a mere
four hits before leaving in the eighth inning.
The loss to last-place Toronto was just the Yankees' fourth
defeat in 15 games. They were coming off an emotional two days in
which they battered Boston, outscoring the Red Sox 25-5.
New York remained 4½ games ahead of Boston, which lost 9-6 to
A crowd of only 10,732 saw a game rescheduled less than two
weeks ago. This three-game series was supposed to open Tuesday
night, but was pushed up to accommodate a makeup against Tampa Bay
caused by Hurricane Frances.
Not since Boston's Vaughn Eshelman on May 2, 1995, had an
opposing lefty started and won his major league debut at Yankee
Stadium, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Torre, who took over as the Yankees' manager in 1996 when they
began their championship run, said there was a "certain mystery"
in facing a pitcher his team had never seen.
Chacin (1-0) proved that, leaving in the eighth with no outs,
the bases loaded on a walk, single and hit batter, and Toronto
Jason Dickson of the California Angels was the last visiting
starter to win his debut in the Bronx, on Aug. 21, 1996. Overall,
starters facing the Yankees in their first game during Torre's
tenure were 3-7 with a 4.66 ERA in 11 tries before Chacin.
Sluggers Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi sat out, but Chacin
still faced a starting lineup that included eight All-Stars who had
combined for 37 All-Star appearances. Chacin began his career with
three straight balls to Derek Jeter, came back to get him on a
grounder and stayed out of trouble with three double plays.
Chacin struck out two and walked three, rarely throwing over 90
mph but doing a nice job of hiding the ball in his delivery. He led
3-0 before the Yankees scored in the sixth on a walk to Kenny
Lofton, a single by Jeter and Alex Rodriguez's double-play
The 23-year-old from Venezuela led all minor leaguers with 18
wins in the regular season, with two coming at Triple-A Syracuse
and the rest at Double-A. He added another victory for New
Hampshire in the playoffs -- his 15th straight win -- and was
scheduled to start for the Fisher Cats on Sunday before they
clinched the Eastern League title.
So instead of facing the Altoona Curve this weekend, Chacin came
to New York to face a different kind of learning curve -- and left
with a smile, a pat from manager John Gibbons and a win.
After Chacin exited, Rodriguez hit a two-run single off Miguel
Batista that made it 6-3. The Yankees loaded the bases, but Hideki
Matsui grounded into an inning-ending double play, and Batista
finished for his second save.
The Yankees loaded the bases again in the ninth, but Jeter
grounded out to end it.
Russ Adams led off the game with a home run against Javier
Vazquez (14-10), and later added a two-run single. Adams was among
about a dozen Toronto players who wore colorful dresses -- a rookie
hazing -- on the charter flight to New York.
Vazquez is 1-4 in his last seven starts. ... Chacin was the
24th pitcher used by Toronto this season, tying the team record set