Jays' Purcey no match for Pettitte, Yankees
Jeter home run caps offensive attack on young Toronto lefty
If you're going to play with the big boys at this time of year, you need experienced pitching.
Such as Andy Pettitte, who took his 36-year-old body to the mound Wednesday night in Toronto and did what he's supposed to do — dominate the Blue Jays' hitting on the way to a 5-1 victory by the New York Yankees.
It was the lefthander's 419th career start, 214th victory and improved his 2008 mark to 13-9.
More importantly, it gave the Yankees the second game of the three-game series after Toronto took the first, moved their record to 67-59 and increased their lead on the Jays to two games as the Blue Jays fell to 65-61.
And with Boston's loss, the wild card race now has the Red Sox ½ game up on Minnesota, 5½ on New York and 7½ up on Toronto.
David Purcey, making his seventh career start, dropped to 2-4 and gave up all five runs on seven hits and two walks over just four innings.
His night was ruined when Derek Jeter sent his eighth homer of the year over the right field wall — a two-run shot in the fourth — opening the lead to 5-0.
Overall, Purcey did himself in by falling behind in far too many counts.
"He's going to be nervous pitching against the Yankees," said Cito Gaston, the Jays' manager. "But it doesn't matter who you're pitching against, you still have to pitch ahead and he wasn't ahead most of the time.
"If you don't pitch ahead, they'll just sit on your fastball."
New York attacked early
The Yankees were at it right from the opening pitch as Johnny Damon singled, Jeter reached on an infield knock and Bobby Abreu followed with a base hit that loaded the bases with and no one out in the top of the first.
Purcey got Alex Rodriguez to fly out to right, not deep enough for Damon to try for the plate, and then induced a fly ball to centre by Jason Giambi that brought in the game's first run.
The second run came courtesy of a Xavier Nady single to right before another fly to centre ended to inning with New York up 2-0.
Fourth marked the end
Purcey settled down for two innings but the top of the fourth brought trouble in waves.
With one down and two on, Damon grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Robinson Cano for a 3-0 score.
Jeter followed with his blast to right and it was 5-0.
Purcey finished the inning and was replaced by Brian Tallett, making his first appearance for Toronto since breaking a toe against Baltimore on July 24.
He was strong for two innings as were Jesse Carlson and Jason Frasor after that.
Pettitte in control
Pettitte cruised over the first five innings, giving up just two singles and no walks.
His only trouble came in the sixth when consecutive singles from David Eckstein and Marco Scutaro led to a run-scoring base hit from Alex Rios with one out.
But the crafty lefty then struck out Vernon Wells and got Adam Lind to fly out to left, ending the inning and any real Toronto chance.
"[There were] a lot of strikes because we swung at a lot of pitches that ended up being balls," said Jays catcher Rod Barajas, whose team was batting just .250 against left-handers this season before facing Pettite.
"That cutter comes out of his hand and it looks like a great pitch to hit, and by the time it's done breaking and all it's movement, it ends up being off the plate."