for this game

Surprise starter Litsch shuts down Yankees

Sep 24, 2007 - 10:05 PM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- In the last week, teams in the American League East have been trying to clinch playoff berths. They discovered that the Toronto Blue Jays are not the team that is going to allow it.

The New York Yankees failed to reduce their magic number for clinching a playoff spot as they were handcuffed by Jesse Litsch, who tossed 7 2/3 outstanding innings to lead the Blue Jays to a 4-1 victory in the finale of a long four-game series on Monday afternoon.

The Yankees (90-66) lost for just the fourth time in their last 18 games and fell two games behind the idle Boston Red Sox (92-64) in the AL East.

"First things first, you have to clinch the wild card before the division, that's where we are," Joe Torre said.

The Blue Jays were responsible for the Yankees having a chance at the division. They swept the Red Sox last week in Toronto and reduced a 4 1/2-game gap between the rivals by three.

But they also did not make it easy for the Yankees in a series that took a little over 16 hours to complete. After blowing a four-run lead in the ninth, the Blue Jays won the series opener in 14 innings and rallied twice in a five-hour, 12-11 loss.

"We're trying to win as many games as we can," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You always want to play good against these teams."

"We feel like we're as good as anybody," Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun said. "We had a tough year injury-wise and I'll stack our pitching up against either team in any league. It's just a matter of getting some offensive consistency next year. We really struggled to be consistent and find an identity at the plate and the injuries didn't help but it sure would be great if the pitching picked up where it left off and continue to keep us in ballgames."

On Sunday, Toronto had the potential go-ahead run up with two outs in the eighth and were handed a 7-5 loss that took three hours, 38 minutes to complete.

The makeup game from April 25 was perhaps the easiest of the four, thanks to Litsch. The rookie righthander filled in for A.J. Burnett and allowed just an RBI groundout to Alex Rodriguez in the sixth and just five hits.

"They have a good pitching staff," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "I think the thing that has hurt Toronto over the years is when their pitchers get hurt.

"If those guys could ever stay healthy for a full season, there's no telling what they could do. But their pitching staff is as good as there is in the American League."

Litsch (7-9) struck out one, without a walk and threw 64 of 99 pitches for strikes. Casey Janssen came on in the seventh after Litsch gave up a two-out double to Bobby Abreu. After allowing an infield single to Rodriguez, he retired Hideki Matsui on a flyout to left.

"They know I'm going to attack and that's what I did - attack the zone," Litsch said. "I got a lot of groundballs, which is what I was trying to do."

Janssen also pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save of the season.

Roughly two hours before the first pitch, Toronto announced that Burnett would miss the game to attend to a family issue and Litsch was moved up a day. Five days after holding the Red Sox to a run and two hits in 6 1/3 innings, the 22-year-old righthander was sharp again.

"I'm trying to finish strong and trying to make an impression on some people," Litsch said. "Just going into the offseason I'm going to come back to spring training and see what happens."

He retired the first seven hitters before Doug Mientkiewicz doubled and took third on an error by first baseman Curtis Thigpen. But he retired Johnny Damon on a groundout and Derek Jeter on a flyout and also stranded two in the fourth and two in the sixth.

By the time Litsch allowed a hit, he had a 3-0 lead to work with as his teammates scored three in the second off Andy Pettitte (14-9).

"It gave Jesse a chance to go out there and relax there a little bit and not feel like he had to make every single pitch a great one," Zaun said. "So he was able to use the bigger part of the strike zone and get ahead of guys and let them get themselves out."

Thigpen and John McDonald sandwiched RBI doubles around a run-scoring groundout by Hector Luna. The Blue Jays added an unearned run when Jeter misplayed Aaron Hill's grounder for an error.

The Yankees had their biggest threat in the sixth as Jeter extended his hitting streak to 11 with a double and took third on a groundout by Abreu. But Rodriguez grounded out weakly to Litsch allowing Jeter to score and Hideki Matsui was stranded at first when Jorge Posada flied out.

Pettitte was pushed up a day to start for Roger Clemens, who had been scratched twice in this series due to a hamstring injury. Clemens is scheduled to start Tuesday in Tampa Bay after having starts on Saturday and Monday pushed back.

Pettitte (14-9) lasted six innings and allowed four runs and five hits while throwing 96 pitches. It was just his third loss in 13 decisions since the All-Star break.

"A loss is disappointing to me, extremely disappointing," Pettitte said. "We were playing good. That was one that got away from us quickly."






  • Leafs8 Yaa blue jays even if they are jut fightin to look good for next season still shows those yanks that they r not a team to be taken for granted

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 24 5:37 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Leafs8 Added 5 roots

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 24 5:36 PM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TORONTO 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 6 1
    NY YANKEES 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TOR - JESSE LITSCH, CASEY JANSSEN (8TH) AND GREGG ZAUN
    NYY - ANDY PETTITTE, KYLE FARNSWORTH (7TH), JOSE VERAS
    (8TH), ROSS OHLENDORF (9TH) AND JORGE POSADA

    HOME RU

    Sep 24 3:52 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ SCORED DEREK JETER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4
    NY YANKEES 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: H MATSUI (.288, 1-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 24 2:50 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY DEREK JETER ALLOWED ALEX RIOS TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A HILL ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 4
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: G ZAUN (.247, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 24 1:47 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOHN MCDONALD SCORED CURTIS THIGPEN.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J MCDONALD ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: R JOHNSON (.233, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 24 1:32 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY HECTOR LUNA SCORED GREGG ZAUN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C THIGPEN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: J MCDONALD (.247, 1 HR, 28 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 24 1:28 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CURTIS THIGPEN SCORED AARON HILL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C THIGPEN ON SECOND, G ZAUN ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: H LUNA (.208, 1 HR, 3 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 24 1:27 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesAug 25 3:28 AM