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Toronto at New York

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Toronto (78-76)000300530011180
N.Y. Yankees (89-65) «010014320112171

Wild ride: Yankees win back-and-forth game in extras

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- The pitching staff was spent. The hitters were exhausted. And manager Joe Torre had made enough nerve-racking decisions to last a lifetime.

Then, after two long days of seemingly endless baseball, Melky Cabrera and the New York Yankees finally nudged a little closer to a playoff berth.

Moments after starting a strong relay that cut down the potential go-ahead run at the plate, Cabrera singled home the winning run in the 10th inning for his fifth RBI to give New York a 12-11 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

"We needed this win. It would have been a huge blow to lose this game, especially after last night," Alex Rodriguez said. "It was like a heavyweight battle. You had the feeling that whoever batted last would get the win."

Cabrera's third big hit of the day ended a wild, messy, back-and-forth game that lasted exactly 5 hours -- after the start was delayed 92 minutes by rain. Plus, it came one day after the teams played 14 innings, a game Toronto won 5-4 even though New York rallied for four runs in the ninth.

The Yankees used a team-record 10 pitchers and again took advantage of a defensive misplay by second baseman Aaron Hill. They began the day 2½ games behind first-place Boston in the AL East and 4½ ahead of Detroit in the wild-card race. Both those teams played later Saturday night.

The surging Yankees trimmed their magic number to three for clinching the wild card and their 13th straight postseason appearance. They have won 13 of 16 overall.

"To be able to overcome the lack of pitching is huge," Torre said. "Last night knocked the hell out of us."

In the first two games of a four-game series, the teams combined to throw 825 pitches. They played 9 hours, 45 minutes of baseball in a 24½-hour span.

With both bullpens cooked following Friday night's marathon, the teams traded slim leads and key hits throughout the late innings. Nobody could get a big out, nobody could throw strikes, nobody could make that crucial play in the field.

Hill doubled over Cabrera's head in center with two outs in the top of the 10th, and 39-year-old lumberjack Matt Stairs tried to score from first. But he was thrown out on a pinpoint, connect-the-dots relay from Cabrera to his good buddy Robinson Cano to catcher Jorge Posada.

"That was as good of a relay as you'll ever see," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Posada opened the bottom half with a bloop double off Josh Towers (5-10). Two outs later, Cabrera lined a single over Hill's head and raised his arms in jubilation on his way to first base.

Uncharacteristic for the buttoned-up Yankees, Cabrera was the center of a raucous celebration in the infield as the sellout crowd of 54,887 roared.

"I never had a game like that," Cabrera said through a translator.

Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui each drove in three runs for the Yankees, who used eight pitchers Friday night. Cabrera broke out of a long slump at the plate and Jeff Karstens (1-3) tossed a scoreless inning in his first major league outing since Aug. 14.

Towers was Toronto's eighth pitcher. The Blue Jays used seven the night before.

"Two great games. Both teams battling. I'm proud of our guys," Gibbons said. "That was probably a fun game to watch if you were a fan. We were into it and they've got a lot at stake."

Toronto lost three players to injuries: slugger Frank Thomas, starting pitcher Shaun Marcum and reliever Scott Downs. Thomas and Marcum each left with a sore right knee. Downs departed with a strained back.

Marcum went for an MRI exam on his knee, which has bothered him for a while. Thomas is doubtful for Sunday.

"It's a twisted knee," said Thomas, hurt on a swing in the muddy batters' box. "I don't think it's major, but I wasn't feeling too good."

Trailing 11-9 in the eighth, the Yankees put two runners on before Hill made a diving play on Wilson Betemit's groundout. Cabrera then hit a bouncer toward the middle that Hill should have handled, but the ball scooted under his glove for a two-run single.

Hill's two-out throwing error helped New York come back in the ninth inning Friday.

This time, the Yankees rallied to take a 9-8 lead in the seventh on Rodriguez's tiebreaking single. But Kyle Farnsworth, hampered by a stiff shoulder lately, couldn't hold it.

Yankees rookie Phil Hughes was bumped up a couple of days to make this start after Ian Kennedy (back) and Roger Clemens (hamstring) were scratched.

Notes

  • Matsui's two-out triple in the fifth gave him 100 RBI.
  • Rodriguez has 146 RBI.
  • Curtis Thigpen's two-run single snapped an 0-for-23 skid.
 
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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Melky Cabrera is soaring on Cloud 9 with his game winner in extra innings to score Johnny Damon.  (AP)
Melky Cabrera is soaring on Cloud 9 with his game winner in extra innings to score Johnny Damon. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

M. Cabrera
AB 7
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 5
New York

A. Rodriguez
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, RF4200211 .239
Matt Stairs, 1B6020025 .293
Alex Rios, CF6221024 .297
Frank Thomas, DH3020011 .273
    John-Ford Griffin, PR-DH0100100 .000
   a- Gregg Zaun, PH-DH2011001 .248
Aaron Hill, 2B5231105 .283
Russ Adams, 3B4112003 .302
   b- Hector Luna, PH-3B1011000 .208
Adam Lind, LF5122001 .233
Curtis Thigpen, C5022001 .215
Ray Olmedo, SS5220012 .190
Totals4611181047  
a-singled for Griffin in the 8th
b-singled for R. Adams in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alex Rios (41, Hughes), Aaron Hill (44, Karstens), Russ Adams (3, Ramirez), Adam Lind (13, Hughes), Curtis Thigpen (3, M. Rivera), Ray Olmedo (3, Veras)
RBI - Alex Rios (84), Gregg Zaun (50), Aaron Hill (74), Russ Adams 2 (11), Hector Luna (3), Adam Lind 2 (35), Curtis Thigpen 2 (7)
2-OUT RBI - Aaron Hill (28), Russ Adams 2 (9), Hector Luna (1), Adam Lind 2 (13), Curtis Thigpen 2 (3)
SB - Curtis Thigpen (2, 2nd base off Hughes/Posada)
Team LOB - 9
Toronto Blue Jays
Shaun Marcum 3511120 4.13
Brian Tallet 2111240 3.32
Joe Kennedy (H,3) 0.2011100 4.90
Jason Frasor (BS,3)0233100 4.77
Scott Downs0100000 2.28
Brandon League 1233100 6.97
Brian Wolfe 1.1322200 2.59
Josh Towers (L,5-10) 1.2311110 5.40
IBB - Giambi by Josh Towers
HBP - Mientkiewicz (by Brian Tallet)
Pitches-Strikes - Shaun Marcum 51-31, Brian Tallet 43-24, Joe Kennedy 10-5, Jason Frasor 13-6, Scott Downs 4-2, Brandon League 17-10, Brian Wolfe 35-17, Josh Towers 29-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shaun Marcum 4-3, Brian Tallet 1-1, Joe Kennedy 2-0, Brandon League 2-1, Brian Wolfe 2-1, Josh Towers 2-2
Batters Faced - Shaun Marcum 15, Brian Tallet 10, Joe Kennedy 3, Jason Frasor 3, Scott Downs 1, Brandon League 6, Brian Wolfe 8, Josh Towers 9
New York Yankees
Melky Cabrera, CF7135004 .282
Derek Jeter, SS6120020 .319
Bobby Abreu, RF3200301 .283
Alex Rodriguez, 3B5243111 .313
Hideki Matsui, LF6033005 .289
Jorge Posada, C5131103 .337
    Johnny Damon, PR0100000 .259
Jason Giambi, DH5000135 .238
Robinson Cano, 2B4200200 .301
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B2120100 .257
    Bronson Sardinha, PR0100000 .000
    Wilson Betemit, 1B2000012 .227
Totals4512171297  
Batting
2B - Alex Rodriguez 2 (30, Frasor, Towers), Jorge Posada (41, Towers), Doug Mientkiewicz (8, League)
3B - Hideki Matsui (4, Tallet)
RBI - Melky Cabrera 5 (70), Alex Rodriguez 3 (146), Hideki Matsui 3 (102), Jorge Posada (86)
2-OUT RBI - Melky Cabrera 3 (28), Alex Rodriguez 3 (69), Hideki Matsui 3 (32)
Team LOB - 14
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Bobby Abreu 1, Melky Cabrera 1
DP - Rodriguez-Cano-Mientkiewicz
PB - Jorge Posada (13)
E - Robinson Cano (13, Misplayed grounder)
New York Yankees
Phil Hughes 5733130 4.80
Ron Villone 0.2000000 4.35
Ross Ohlendorf 0.1000000 3.38
Jose Veras (H,1) 0.2244220 10.13
Edwar Ramirez (BS,2) 0.1211000 7.11
Kyle Farnsworth (BS,3) 0.1333100 4.98
Chris Britton 0.1000000 3.97
Kei Igawa 0.1100000 6.75
Mariano Rivera 1100020 2.86
Jeff Karstens (W,1-3) 1200000 10.43
WP - Jose Veras (1), Edwar Ramirez (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Hughes 99-68, Ron Villone 7-5, Ross Ohlendorf 3-2, Jose Veras 31-16, Edwar Ramirez 15-9, Kyle Farnsworth 19-8, Chris Britton 2-2, Kei Igawa 5-3, Mariano Rivera 20-13, Jeff Karstens 20-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Hughes 6-6, Mariano Rivera 1-0
Batters Faced - Phil Hughes 23, Ron Villone 2, Ross Ohlendorf 1, Jose Veras 6, Edwar Ramirez 3, Kyle Farnsworth 5, Chris Britton 1, Kei Igawa 1, Mariano Rivera 4, Jeff Karstens 4
Game Information
Attendance - 54887
Game Time - 5:00
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Rob Drake