Yankees Return to Winning Ways, Top Toronto 4-2

A.J. Burnett quickly got the New York Yankees back to their winning ways.

Burnett scattered six hits over seven innings, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez homered, and the Yankees opened the long holiday weekend with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

Wearing jarring red caps as part of Major League Baseball's Fourth of July weekend celebration, the Yankees rebounded from Thursday night's 8-4 loss to Seattle for their eighth win in nine games. It was the start of an unusual stretch of four straight day games between New York and Toronto, a series that includes Saturday's observance of the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech.
Burnett (7-4), who lost to his former team at Toronto on May 12, allowed both runs, struck out seven and walked two. He got his first three strikeouts on 96 mph fastballs, then rung up his final four with curveballs in the low 80s.

Phil Coke and Phil Hughes split the eighth, with Hughes retiring Vernon Wells on an inning-ending grounder with a runner on second. Mariano Rivera struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 22 chances, No. 503 of his career.

Brian Tallet (5-6) walked a career-high six in his previous start, against Philadelphia, and he again struggled with his control. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- six hits and four walks in six innings, forcing in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk to Mark Teixeira in the fifth.

That was the third walk of the inning for the Yankees, who made it 3-1 on a passed ball by Raul Chavez, who appeared to get crossed up on the first pitch to Cano. New York was helped earlier in the fifth when Tallet's underhand toss on Johnny Damon's bunt rolled to first, a play originally scored an error and then changed to a hit.

Vernon Wells, dropped to No. 6 in the starting batting order for the first time since June 3, 2005, hit a long homer to left in the sixth to pull the Blue Jays to 3-2. It was just the eighth home run this season for Wells, who entered in a 2-for-19 slide.

Rodriguez led off the eighth against Jeremy Accardo with an opposite-field homer to right. A-Rod has 14 homers this season -- including five in his last eight games -- and 567 in his career, two shy of Rafael Palmeiro for 10th place.

Cano had put the Yankees ahead in the second when he drove an 87 mph pitch off the back wall of the visitor's bullpen in right-center. He had gone 12 straight games without an RBI since June 17.
Alex Rios' RBI single tied it in the fourth.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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