NEW YORK (AP) -- The riled-up New York Yankees spent all
afternoon barking at the plate umpire, and an angry Joe Torre
charged out of the dugout to argue a rare ejection.
Looks as though the Bronx Bombers are ready for their first trip
Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer and Mike Mussina shut down the
Toronto Blue Jays again, leading New York to a 4-1 victory Sunday.
Andy Phillips also homered for the Yankees, who took two of three
in the series and finished 6-3 on their first long homestand of the
The normally even-tempered Torre wasn't around for the end -- he
and Toronto skipper John Gibbons were both ejected for arguing
balls and strikes with umpire Adam Dowdy.
"He shows emotion in big situations," Giambi said. "It
definitely, I think, gave us a lift."
Johnny Damon had three hits for the second day in a row as he
prepares for his much-anticipated return to Fenway Park. He and the
Yankees lead the AL East by percentage points over Boston, where
they begin a two-game series Monday night.
"It feels like my bat speed, I'm quick. It feels like my
balance is there," Damon said. "So, hopefully, I can keep on
belting out hits and, hopefully, the guys keep driving me in."
Mussina (4-1) outpitched Gustavo Chacin, allowing one run and
seven hits in six innings for his sixth solid start in six outings
Featuring what Damon calls his "Bugs Bunny changeup," the
right-hander struck out seven and walked two. He also beat the Blue
Jays 3-1 on April 19 in Toronto.
"I thought I made some pitches that didn't get called. I fought
through it," Mussina said.
Trying to become the AL's first five-game winner, Chacin (4-1)
gave up two runs and six hits in six innings. He failed in his bid
to become the first Blue Jays starter to win five times in April,
according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"I think he's our MVP so far. Every time he's on the mound, he
gives us a chance to win," Toronto's Vernon Wells said.
Both teams took issue with Dowdy's strike zone. Dowdy, a
Triple-A umpire filling in for Mike DiMuro, has worked major league
games since 2002.
Dowdy ejected Torre in the middle of the fifth after Mussina
struck out Shea Hillenbrand (for the third time) with the bases
As Chacin was warming up for the bottom half, Torre said he
caught Dowdy's attention and held up three fingers.
"He asked me what it meant," Torre said. "I told him it meant
he missed three pitches. He threw me out after that."
Gibbons was tossed in the bottom of the fifth after three
consecutive walks by Chacin forced in a run, his only three walks
of the game.
"Tough place to play," Gibbons said three separate times, with
a slight smirk on his face.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner took exception to the
ejections -- and the fact Dowdy was even behind the plate, the New
York Daily News and New York Post reported Monday.
"I think it's a crime that the league would assign a rookie
umpire to a crucial series like this," Steinbrenner said. "I'm
really P.O.'d at the league for sending those kinds of umpires -- a
rookie umpire in here to do this series."
Steinbrenner indicated either he or someone else from the
Yankees' front office would discuss the situation at baseball's
main offices Monday. Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney told the Daily
News he had no comment when told of Steinbrenner's complaint.
Torre was ejected for the first time since last June 8 in
Milwaukee. He was tossed only twice last year.
"We felt we had some calls that didn't go our way. Our manager
got thrown out first," New York's Alex Rodriguez said. "He didn't
say anything. There were 14 people in the dugout yelling at the
umpire. I guess he just picked out the manager. I thought Joe
handled himself with a lot of class, and all of a sudden he gets
thrown out of the game."
But the ejection woke up the crowd of 52,954 and seemed to spark
Phillips connected in the fifth. Damon doubled with two outs and
Chacin walked three straight, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
Chacin and the Blue Jays thought his 2-2 pitch to Rodriguez with
the bases loaded caught the inside corner. Ball four also looked
close, and the frustrated lefty turned his back to the plate and
walked nearly all the way to third base as Gibbons popped out of
the dugout to argue.
"They were both close. The timing of it all, after the top of
the inning," Gibbons said, "tough place to play for us."
Wells had a similar take.
"Obviously, it was a good day to have pinstripes on," he said.
"We had opportunities, we just didn't play well enough to win."
Giambi came out for a curtain call after his ninth homer and
second in two days. He has 27 RBI -- a total he didn't reach last
year until July 5.
The Yankees activated RHP Aaron Small from the DL after the
game and optioned LHP Matt Smith to Triple-A Columbus. ... Yankees
RF Gary Sheffield sat out with a bruised left hand following a
collision with Hillenbrand at 1B the previous day. Sheffield is day
to day. ... Toronto bench coach Ernie Whitt argued with second base
umpire Larry Poncino in the seventh after Alex Rios was caught
stealing. He appeared to be safe. "Maybe somebody blinked. I don't
know," Gibbons said. ... Dowdy also ejected Yankees RHP Orlando
Hernandez and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre in a September 2004
game against Tampa Bay.