Alex Rodriguez came to the plate in the fifth inning with the Yankees trailing 4-3, one out and the bases loaded. He was batting .197 at the time with runners in scoring position. There are currently 135 major league players who are hitting BETTER than A-Rod in that same situation. He looked poised and ready to break out of it...and then he hit into a rally-killing double pay to end the inning. If he were in New York, he would have been booed. In Toronto he calmly took of his helmet and went back to work in the field. In the ninth inning he got another chance with the score tied 4-4, A-Rod drove in two runs and lead the Yankees to a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays.
In the top of the ninth, Derek Jeter walked and Gary Sheffield hit a double to deep left. A-Rod strolled to the plate with the weight of the world on his shoulders. This time A-Rod delivered. He hit a line drive single to left field driving in both Sheffield and Jeter, giving the Yankees a 2 run lead and allowing Mariano Rivera to warm up. A-Rod later scored on a Hideki Matsui single for the final Yankee run.
Jon Leiber got off to a rocky start allowing a two run home run to Carlos Delgado in the first and a two run home run to Orlando Hudson in the third. Then Leiber settled down and retired 13 batters in a row. Leiber managed to go seven and one third inning allowing those four runs, six hits and two walks, while striking out four. C.J. Nitkowski got the win with a perfect two thirds in the eighth. Rivera pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 44th save of the year.
The Yankees continue the four game series tonight by sending Esteban Loaiza (9-7, 5.14) to the mound against Justin Miller (2-2, 4.76), game time 7:05pm. Saturday's game is a 4:05 start with Kevin Brown (9-3, 3.89) against Ted Lilly (9-8, 3.66). The series comes to an end on Sunday with a 1:05 start pitting Mike Mussina (9-7, 5.34) against Miguel Batista (9-10, 4.54).