TORONTO (AP) -- Bobby Abreu couldn't contain his smile. The New
York Yankees can clinch the AL East with a victory on Wednesday.
Abreu hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning, Johnny Damon
made a great catch that saved three runs and the Yankees beat the
Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 Tuesday night to lower to one the magic
number for their ninth straight AL East title.
Jeff Karstens was the winning pitcher in the Yankees' 6-3 victory over the Blue Jays, one night after his fellow rookie teammate Darrell Rasner started and won. It was the first time in 15 years that a pair of Yankees rookies started and won consecutive games. On Wednesday night, Sean Henn can try to match the three-game streak in 1991 by Scott Kamieniecki, Jeff Johnson, and Wade Taylor.• For more Elias Says, click here
"This is amazing," said Abreu, whose only postseason
experience was three at-bats with Houston in 1997. "I haven't been
in this situation in a long time, and I'm just excited about it.
I'm going to enjoy it."Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui also homered for the Yankees, who
would clinch the division with one more win or one Boston loss."This is what you wait for. You wake up in the morning and know
something special can happen," New York manager Joe Torre said.The Yankees face Toronto ace Roy Halladay on Wednesday. Torre
said Jorge Posada (rest), Jason Giambi (wrist), Derek Jeter
(bruised hand) and Damon (sore hand) probably won't play Wednesday."It would be nice to clinch, but we know we are facing, to me,
the game's best pitcher," Damon said.Jeter forced Jason Frasor (2-2) out of the game by a lining a
single off right shin in the seventh, and Abreu followed with a
two-run homer off Justin Speier for a 5-3 lead. It was Abreu's
fourth home run since the Yankees acquired him from Philadelphia in
late July, and gave him six hits in his last 12 at-bats. Matsui
added a solo shot in the eighth off Brian Tallet."When we added Abreu, that let us breathe easier," Damon said.
"He let us all relax. He was another guy in the lineup that made
us deeper."Melky Cabrera's two-run single in the fourth had put the Yankees
ahead 3-2, but Gregg Zaun tied it in the fifth with an RBI single.
Rios followed with a walk that loaded the bases and Damon, with his
back to the plate and running hard toward the fence, stretched out
his arm as he fell at the warning track in left-center to rob Russ
Adams."Three runs could have scored. When you're not hitting, you got
to do something," said Damon, in a 4-for-25 slump.Damon scraped a hand on the catch, just the latest injury he's
sustained in Toronto. He needed stitches on his left elbow and
broke his toe against the wall in another incident."I've got a lot of body parts left on this field," Damon said.Jeff Karstens (2-1), making his fifth major league start,
allowed three runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings."On the outside I'm pretty laid back being from California, but
on the inside I'm like a little kid running around here saying,
'God, I'm playing with all these superstars,'" Karstens said.Kyle Farnsworth pitched the ninth for his sixth save,
eliminating third-place Toronto from contention in the AL East."I don't really care about the Yankees. I'm only worried about
our team. We have a good thing going here and we're going to carry
this through to next year," Speier said.Posada hit his 20th homer run, a solo shot off Shaun Marcum in
the second. But Alex Rios' RBI double in the bottom half and Lyle
Overbay's run-scoring single in the third gave Toronto a 2-1 lead.
New York 1B Giambi left in the fifth inning with soreness
in his left wrist. Torre said that he will rest him for at least a
few games. Before the game, Giambi talked about possibly getting a
third cortisone shot in the wrist. Giambi was replaced by Craig
Wilson. ... The Yankees' Gary Sheffield was activated from the
15-day DL and could play 1B after the Yankees clinch. ... Mariano
Rivera threw a bullpen session and said he hopes to return this
weekend. ... The Yankees have won six straight road games. ...
Toronto has lost five in a row to New York.