Pettitte earns win as Yankees beat Blue Jays 9-4
TORONTO (AP) — After nine days off, Andy Pettitte was bursting with energy as he got back on the mound. Once he got that under control, he was exceptional.
Pettitte pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Travis Hafner homered and had two RBIs, and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 on Friday night.
“Andy is remarkable,” outfielder Vernon Wells said of his 40-year-old teammate. “I’ve had a chance to see him for a long time and he’s the same guy he was 10, 12 years ago. It’s fun to watch and it’s a pleasure to watch an individual that’s been around this long and still continues to have success.”
Wells and Lyle Overbay also went deep against their former team as the Yankees won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Scratched from his previous scheduled start because of back spasms, Pettitte (3-0) was pitching for the first time since April 9 at Cleveland. He showed few signs of rust, however, striking out four in a row at one stretch in his 7 1-3 innings.
“I felt like I hadn’t pitched all year, to tell you the truth,” Pettitte said. “Just trying to control my emotions and stuff like that. It took me a few innings to settle in.”
The veteran left-hander allowed three runs and six hits, walked one and struck out a season-high five. More importantly, he said his sore back didn’t bother him.
“I felt good tonight, I didn’t have any problems with it at all,” he said.
Shawn Kelly got the final five outs for the Yankees, who improved to 5-0 when scoring at least five runs.
The Yankees have an AL-best 25 homers this season and have gone deep in 13 of their 15 games.
“I’m not complaining and I don’t hear anyone else complaining,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve swung the bats really pretty well. We’ve hit a lot of home runs, we hit a bunch tonight. It’s good to see.”
Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer for Toronto and J.P. Arencibia had a solo drive in the ninth but the Blue Jays lost for the third time in four games.
“One step forward two steps back, that’s kind of what’s happening,” manager John Gibbons said. “We can’t get anything going. It hasn’t come together yet. I think it will, it’s just a matter of time. But you know what, it’s time to start playing better baseball, there’s no question about it.”
Bautista returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing the previous four games with a sore back. Gibbons said Bautista will likely DH in all three games against the Yankees this weekend before returning to right field in next week’s series at Baltimore.
New York jumped on Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow with two runs in the first. Robinson Cano had a one-out double and Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch before Hafner hit an RBI double to left. Wells followed with a grounder.
Toronto answered in the bottom half when Rajai Davis hit a leadoff triple and scored on Melky Cabrera’s grounder.
Hafner made it 3-1 with a leadoff longball to left in the third, his fifth.
Wells followed with a single and Ichiro Suzuki doubled before Eduardo Nunez flied to center. Colby Rasmus threw home when Wells bluffed a start at third, but Rasmus’ one-hop throw bounced off Arencibia and into the Yankees’ dugout for an error, allowing both runners to score.
“The big play is the ball we throw away,” Gibbons said. “It scores two runs, and that changes the complexion of the game. You fall too far behind the guys like Pettitte, the good pitchers, they don’t make enough mistakes where you can get back at them.”
Wells, who spent 12 years with Toronto before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2011 season, said he was taunted throughout by fans in the left field seats.
“It’s kind of like a family when you come back here,” Wells said. “There’s some family members that like you and some that really don’t. You have fun with it and enjoy the moment.
“If we can come in here and win ball games, they can yell at me all they want,” he added.
The Yankees chased Morrow when Overbay hit a one-out homer in the sixth and Francisco Cervelli followed with a double to right. Brett Cecil came on and gave up an RBI triple to Brett Gardner and an RBI grounder by Cano.
Morrow (0-2) remained winless in four starts, allowing seven runs, five earned, and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.
“I fell behind early in the count the first few batters and wasn’t locating my fastball well,” Morrow said.
Bautista clubbed a homer into the second deck in center in the sixth, but Wells connected in the bottom half, his fourth, making it 9-3.
NOTES: Pettitte needed just four pitches to record his final four outs. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi said 1B Mark Teixeira (right wrist) and OF Curtis Granderson (right wrist) have both started taking “light swings.” ... Gibbons said R.A. Dickey felt better Friday, one day after leaving his start against the White Sox after six innings with neck and back soreness. Dickey is scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday. ... The Blue Jays have been outscored 16-9 in the first inning this season. ... Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson threw out the first pitch.