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New York at Toronto

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N.Y. Yankees «11450000011121
Toronto30001330010140

Yanks overcome Big Unit's ejection, hang on to beat Jays

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

TORONTO -- Randy Johnson fumed at the home plate umpire when he didn't like a call, which is not unusual. On Friday night, it nearly cost the New York Yankees a critical game.

Johnson had his shortest start in more than a decade, ejected in the second inning by Fieldin Culbreth. The Yankees bounced back to take an eight-run lead against Toronto, then barely held on.

Robinson Cano homered twice and drove in five runs, Alex Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 43rd home run and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-10 for their fifth straight win.

"I can assure you that nobody finds it exciting to come to the ballpark this time of year and have to eject Randy Johnson," Culbreth said.

Johnson left the clubhouse without talking to reporters

New York used its bullpen to make up for Johnson's early exit and remained a half-game behind Cleveland in the AL wild-card race and 1½ games back of first-place Boston in the AL East.

With Toronto leading 3-2 with two outs in the second inning, Frank Menechino at the plate and the count 2-2, Johnson threw a pitch on the inside part of the plate that was called a ball. The 6-foot-10 left-hander yelled at Culbreth, who popped out to the first-base side of the plate and took off his mask.

Culbreth yelled something at Johnson and pointed at the pitcher. Johnson yelled something back, and the umpire then ejected him.

Culbreth said he warned Johnson in the first inning after the Big Unit questioned a pitch to Vernon Wells and got "pretty animated," the umpire said. Culbreth had enough after the pitch to Menechino.

"Randy immediately came off the mound and had some choice words to say. I told him to knock it off and get back on the mound," Culbreth said to a pool reporter. "He screamed again, an expletive and, `Just call it a strike.' And at that point he also screamed out, 'And the pitch to Wells was an expletive strike as well.' And at that point, I ejected him.

"I would think that he knows that when he came off the mound and was saying that, he had to be putting himself in a position to be ejected."

John Flaherty, New York's catcher, got between Johnson and the umpire, and Yankees manager Joe Torre came out of the dugout to argue.

"I was disappointed that Fieldin reacted as quickly as he did, but he has a legitimate gripe," Flaherty said. "Randy was saying some things in the first inning and by the second inning Cubby had enough. In the first inning they went back and forth and Fieldin told him, to his credit, that he's had enough and to calm it down."

Johnson flipped the ball onto the infield before walking to the Yankees dugout.

"You can place blame any where you want to. You can maybe say that Randy went a little too far. There's probably some truth to that, but I was surprised that Fieldin threw him out as quickly as he did knowing the kind of umpire that he is. He's a very good umpire," Flaherty said. "I don't know if Randy stepped over the line. I didn't necessarily think he did."

New York manager Joe Torre said they both overreacted, but he didn't blame Johnson for showing emotion. He also said Culbreth is a good umpire.

"I just think he pulled the trigger too quickly," said Torre, who added he would talk to Johnson on Saturday. "I don't want him not to show emotion."

Johnson allowed three runs and two hits, throwing 50 pitches. Scott Proctor relieved and retired Menechino on his first pitch.

It was Johnson's shortest regular-season start since July 23, 1993, for Seattle at Cleveland, when he lasted 1 1/3 innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Johnson gave up eight runs in that game.

Cano hit a three-run homer off Dave Bush (5-9) in the third that put New York ahead 5-3 and a two-run shot off Brandon League in the fourth that boosted the lead to 11-3, the first multihomer game of his career. The rookie second baseman tied his career high of five RBI, set Thursday at Tampa Bay. He had three hits and is batting .469 (23-for-49) in September.

Proctor (1-0) won for the first time since Oct. 3 last year, also at Toronto, despite allowing four runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

After Toronto closed against Proctor, Felix Rodriguez and Alan Embree, Tanyon Sturtze got four outs and Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 40th save in 44 chances.

Wells hit a three-run homer off Johnson. Toronto has lost four of five, falling to 72-74.

"It changes things a lot when one of the best pitchers in the game gets ejected," Toronto's Reed Johnson said. "I think you'd see a lot of teams roll over in that situation."

Jason Giambi hit an RBI double in the first, but Wells' 26th homer put Toronto ahead.

Flaherty's RBI double cut it to 3-2 in the second, and New York scored four runs in the third on Cano's three-run homer and Flaherty's second homer of the season.

New York added five runs in the fourth on Alex Rodriguez's two-run homer off Pete Walker, Hideki Matsui's RBI grounder off League and Cano's 12th home run.

Toronto's John-Ford Griffin hit an RBI grounder in the fifth, and the Blue Jays cut the lead to 11-7 in the sixth on Reed Johnson's three-run double off Felix Rodriguez.

The Blue Jays closed within a run in the seventh on Aaron Hill's RBI double off Felix Rodriguez, Gabe Gross' run-scoring double off Embree and pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun's RBI single off Embree.

Notes

  • The Yankees became the first team in major league history to hit 200 or more homers in six straight seasons.
  • Rodriguez hit his 25th homer at the Rogers Centre, the most by any opponent.
  • Gross replaced Alex Rios in RF to start the second after Rios took his time running to first on a first-inning flyout.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Robinson Cano (left) gets a pat from Jason Giambi after his three-run blast in the third inning.  (AP)
Robinson Cano (left) gets a pat from Jason Giambi after his three-run blast in the third inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

R. Cano
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 2
RBI 5
Toronto

R. Johnson
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
 
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS5120010 .306
Alex Rodriguez, 3B2212202 .321
Jason Giambi, 1B3211203 .281
    Tino Martinez, 1B0000000 .241
Gary Sheffield, DH5020004 .296
Hideki Matsui, LF5211003 .299
Robinson Cano, 2B5335000 .294
Matt Lawton, RF4000111 .254
John Flaherty, C4122011 .169
   a- Jorge Posada, PH-C1000000 .256
Bubba Crosby, CF5000012 .250
Totals391112115416 
a-grounded out for Flaherty in the 9th
Batting
2B - Derek Jeter (25, Walker), Jason Giambi (14, Bush), Robinson Cano (30, Bush), John Flaherty (5, Bush)
HR - Alex Rodriguez (43, Walker), Robinson Cano 2 (12, Bush, League), John Flaherty (2, Bush)
RBI - Alex Rodriguez 2 (116), Jason Giambi (80), Hideki Matsui (110), Robinson Cano 5 (57), John Flaherty 2 (9)
2-OUT RBI - John Flaherty (4)
SB - Derek Jeter (13, 3rd base off McGowan/Quiroz), Alex Rodriguez 2 (15, 2nd base off Bush/Quiroz, 2nd base off McGowan/Quiroz)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - John Flaherty (2, Wild throw)
New York Yankees
Randy Johnson 1.2233221 4.01
Scott Proctor (W,1-0) 3.2544140 5.06
Felix Rodriguez 0.2322010 4.85
Alan Embree (H,10) 0.2211010 7.11
Tanyon Sturtze (H,15) 1.1100010 4.21
Mariano Rivera (S,40) 1100000 1.38
HBP - Johnson (by Randy Johnson)
WP - Scott Proctor (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Johnson 44-23, Scott Proctor 68-43, Felix Rodriguez 17-11, Alan Embree 13-9, Tanyon Sturtze 24-18, Mariano Rivera 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Johnson 1-2, Scott Proctor 1-6, Felix Rodriguez 1-0, Alan Embree 1-0, Mariano Rivera 2-1
Batters Faced - Randy Johnson 10, Scott Proctor 17, Felix Rodriguez 5, Alan Embree 4, Tanyon Sturtze 5, Mariano Rivera 4
Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF4233001 .275
Frank Menechino, DH1100101 .220
   a- John-Ford Griffin, PH-DH2001011 .333
   b- Frank Catalanotto, PH-DH1000000 .289
Vernon Wells, CF5123011 .270
Shea Hillenbrand, 1B5130010 .297
Aaron Hill, 2B4111103 .270
Corey Koskie, 3B5110032 .245
Alex Rios, RF1000001 .256
    Gabe Gross, RF4221000 .279
Guillermo Quiroz, C3000022 .095
   c- Gregg Zaun, PH-C2021000 .262
    Eric Hinske, PR0000000 .263
Russ Adams, SS4100112 .258
Totals411014103914 
a-grounded out for Menechino in the 5th
b-flied out for Griffin in the 8th
c-singled for Quiroz in the 7th
Batting
2B - Reed Johnson 2 (21, Proctor, F. Rodriguez), Aaron Hill (22, F. Rodriguez), Gabe Gross 2 (2, Proctor, Embree)
HR - Vernon Wells (26, R. Johnson)
RBI - Reed Johnson 3 (55), John-Ford Griffin (1), Vernon Wells 3 (86), Aaron Hill (36), Gabe Gross (5), Gregg Zaun (56)
SB - Reed Johnson (5, 2nd base off R. Johnson/Flaherty), Vernon Wells (4, 2nd base off Sturtze/Flaherty), Aaron Hill (2, 3rd base off R. Johnson/Flaherty)
Team LOB - 8
Toronto Blue Jays
Dave Bush (L,5-9) 2.2666212 4.35
Pete Walker 0.1344111 3.40
Brandon League 2211201 7.39
Dustin McGowan 2100010 7.51
Scott Schoeneweis 1000000 3.59
Jason Frasor 1000010 3.51
HBP - Jeter (by Dave Bush), Rodriguez (by Dustin McGowan)
Pitches-Strikes - Dave Bush 63-39, Pete Walker 18-10, Brandon League 39-19, Dustin McGowan 26-18, Scott Schoeneweis 5-5, Jason Frasor 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dave Bush 2-5, Brandon League 3-3, Dustin McGowan 4-1, Scott Schoeneweis 3-0, Jason Frasor 2-0
Batters Faced - Dave Bush 17, Pete Walker 5, Brandon League 10, Dustin McGowan 8, Scott Schoeneweis 3, Jason Frasor 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36543
Game Time - 3:37
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - James Hoye