Vernon Wells gave the Blue Jays a 5-4 win over the Yankees with an 11th-inning walkoff home run against Mariano Rivera. It was only the third regular-season walkoff homer allowed by Rivera, and the first in extra innings.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown: Rivera hadn't allowed a home run in his last 74 innings. That had been the longest streak in the majors -- a distinction that Rivera inherited only seven hours earlier when Jorge Cantu homered off Juan Rincon in the Devil Rays' 6-4 loss to the Twins. Rincon hadn't allowed a home run in his previous 82 innings.
Toronto managed to win the day after Shea Hillenbrand was
designated for assignment because of some critical comments about
the organization.After Hillenbrand wrote on the clubhouse bulletin board that the
"ship was sinking," Gibbons challenged him to a fight. There was
no brawl, but the tense relationship between the two reached the
breaking point during a team meeting Wednesday night. He was later
cut during the game."It's been a long tiring few days," Gibbons said. "The guys
are tired, yeah we needed that. It was a good way to finish
today."The Blue Jays moved within three games of New York for second
place in the AL East. Toronto is five games back of first-place
Boston."Whatever happens off the field happens. Once we step on the
field we have to be able to separate that kind of stuff and go out
and play," Wells said. "That's what we get paid to do. If we're
not able to do that we don't deserve to be in this race."Frank Catalanotto led off the 11th with a single to right but
was thrown out trying to steal second on a failed hit and run.
Wells then hit his 24th homer and the first Rivera (4-5) has
allowed all year. It was the first game-winning homer off Rivera
since Bill Mueller did it for the Red Sox on July 24, 2004.Wells, who finished with four hits, was mobbed by his teammates
when he touched home plate after the homer to left-center. His
drive ended a game that started as a matchup between two of the
AL's best pitchers, Toronto's Roy Halladay and New York's Mike
MussinaBrian Tallet (3-0) pitched the 11th for the victory.The Blue Jays led 4-3 before the Yankees rallied in the eighth.
Halladay retired the first two batters of the inning before he was
replaced by closer B.J. Ryan, who blew his third save of the
season.Ryan, a left-hander, allowed a single to lefty Jason Giambi and
a walk to Alex Rodriguez before Jorge Posada blooped a broken-bat
RBI single to left.Ryan spoiled a strong outing from Halladay, who allowed three
runs and eight hits. Mussina gave up four runs and six hits in
seven innings, his outing spoiled by a costly error by third
baseman Alex Rodriguez.Toronto scored four runs in the sixth after Aaron Hill led off
with a double and advanced to third on a grounder. Reed Johnson
followed with a grounder to Rodriguez, whose throw to the plate
sailed past catcher Posada.Johnson went to second on Rodriguez's team-leading 17th error.Mussina thought Rodriguez should have conceded the run and
thrown to first."I know he's played better. I know he's disappointed in the way
he's playing. It's just not him right now. We need him back the way
he's supposed to be," Mussina said. "I thought he was going to
throw to first and then I turn and saw him throw it to home. All he
had to do was throw it on target and he was out by 20 feet."Rodriguez said he needs to work on not sidearming his throws."It's frustrating. Obviously, you want the inning to stop.
Moose was throwing such a good game," Rodriguez said.Catalanotto followed with an RBI single to cut it to 3-2.After Wells singled, Troy Glaus hit a two-run double to left. A
sliding Wells beat the throw to the plate.Johnny Damon hit an RBI double in the first, Bernie Williams hit
an RBI grounder in the fourth and Miguel Cairo hit a sacrifice fly
in the fifth to give New York a 3-0 lead.
Yankees OF Hideki Matsui could be just days away from
taking batting practice after getting a positive report about his
broken left wrist on Thursday. Matsui was examined by the same
doctor who performed the surgery on the wrist. He injured himself
diving for a ball hit by Boston's Mark Loretta on May 11....
Halladay is unbeaten in his last nine starts at home, going 7-0.
... Hill extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his double in