NEW YORK — Robinson Cano hit a pair of two-run homers to back a solid effort by David Phelps, and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays for the ninth straight time at Yankee Stadium, 7-2 Saturday.
Phelps (2-2) struck out eight while allowing one run in a season-high seven innings, helping New York beat the Blue Jays for the eighth time in nine games this season.
Cano connected off Brandon Morrow with two outs in the third after Brett Gardner drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single. Cano also hit one off Morrow (1-3) with two out in the fifth, a shot that gave him his second multihomer game of the year. He has 12 such games for his career.
Travis Hafner returned to the Yankees’ lineup after missing five games because of right shoulder inflammation and hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning.
The AL East’s top team will send ace CC Sabathia to the mound Sunday with a chance to complete its second sweep of Toronto in the Bronx in three weeks. The Yankees took four straight from April 25-28. The Blue Jays counter with NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
Toronto has lost 23 of its last 28 games at Yankee Stadium.
Making his fourth start in place of the injured Ivan Nova, Phelps was at his best with runners on base. In the first, he walked Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion but picked Bautista off second base and struck out J.P. Arencibia to end the inning. With runners on first and second in the third, Phelps got Melky Cabrera to ground into a double play. After again walking Bautista, he struck out Encarnacion for the third out.
The Blue Jays cut the lead to 3-1 in the fourth. After Adam Lind had the first of his two doubles, Colby Rasmus hit a sharp liner that Curtis Granderson, playing right field for the first time in his big league career, got spun around on and Lind scored. But Phelps struck out Maicer Izturis to limit the damage.
Phelps was greeted on the field just in front of the dugout with a handshake from manager Joe Girardi after a 1-2-3 seventh. Phelps yielded six hits and walked three.
David Robertson gave up Encarnacion’s homer in a rainy eighth inning.
Morrow had his start pushed back from Wednesday because of neck and back tightness, and the rest appeared to have served him well early. He retired six in a row before Jayson Nix singled to start the third.
With two outs, Gardner singled to center field and third base coach Rob Thomson signaled Nix home with a feverish windmill of his right arm. Nix slid in before the throw arrived.
Cano then sent the next pitch on the shortest possible journey out of the ballpark, just clearing the fence down the right-field line. Cano hit his 12th of the year in the fifth with a no-doubter to right-center, driving in Austin Romine, who singled.
Morrow was lifted after throwing 75 pitches in five innings. He allowed seven hits and five runs.
NOTES: Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, at the stadium for fan photo day, said he was pleasantly surprised but “not shocked” by New York’s early success, considering all the injuries. ... New York acquired INF Reid Brignac from Colorado for cash. He was recently designated for assignment by the Rockies. ... Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said LHP J.A. Happ (skull fracture, knee) is still sidelined because of the knee injury he sustained when he fell to the turf after being hit in the head by a line drive and is not near pitching again. Gibbons said Happ’s head is fine. ... Blue Jays RHP Josh Johnson (triceps) will make his first rehab start on Monday for Class-A Dunedin. ... Cabrera doubled for the fifth straight game, a career high.
Indians 5, Mariners 4
CLEVELAND — Mark Reynolds’ fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the ninth inning lifting the Cleveland Indians to a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.
The Indians, who began the day tied with Detroit atop the AL Central, have won 16 of their last 20.
Seattle tied the score at 4-all with two-out, solo homers by Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak off Indians closer Chris Perez in the top of the ninth.
Jason Kipnis, who won Friday’s game with a three-run homer in the 10th, led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Oliver Perez (1-1) and took third on Asdrubal Cabrera’s double. Nick Swisher was intentionally walked to load the bases..
Reynolds, who drove in three runs, hit a sharp ground ball off reliever Yoervis Medina that was gloved by shortstop Brendan Ryan, but his throw home pulled catcher Jesus Montero off the plate.
Cubs 8, Mets 2
CHICAGO — Scott Feldman pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and drove in two runs with a big two-out double, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets 8-2 on Saturday.
The Cubs have won five of seven and can win three straight series for the first time with a victory on Sunday. Anthony Rizzo had two hits and his first home run since signing a seven-year contract on Monday.
Chicago was going for its first shutout since a victory over Colorado on Aug. 26, but Rick Ankiel broke it up with a two-run homer off Hector Rondon with one out in the ninth.
Feldman (4-3) allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked one in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander improved to 4-0 with a 1.27 ERA in five games since he lost each of his first three starts in his first year with the Cubs.
Mets starter Jeremy Hefner lost his fifth straight decision to start the season. Hefner (0-5) was charged with four runs and five hits in four innings in his shortest start since he pitched four innings against Washington on April 20.
New York, which was trying to win three straight games for the second time this season, squandered a couple of chances to get off to a fast start.
The Mets put runners on the corners in the first when Ike Davis flied out for the second out. David Wright then stole second, but David DeJesus hauled in Lucas Duda’s fly ball to deep left-center at the wall to end the inning.
New York had runners on second and third again in the second, but Mike Baxter popped out to shortstop to end the inning.
Chicago then scored four times in the fourth inning. Luis Valbuena had a sacrifice fly and Welington Castillo singled in Alfonso Soriano. After Darwin Barney flied out for the second out, Feldman came up with a two-run double to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
Rizzo tacked on his 10th homer in the fifth and Nate Schierholtz went deep in Chicago’s three-run eighth inning.
Daniel Murphy went 2 for 4 for New York and is batting .500 (14 for 28) in his last seven games. But Davis continued to struggle, going 0 for 4 to fall to 4 for 39 over his last 11 games.
The Mets have scored 26 runs over their last nine games.
NOTES: Saturday was the 700th game between the Mets and Cubs. Chicago leads the series 352-348. . The Mets are appealing to Major League Baseball to get the second earned run charged Friday to Matt Harvey changed to an unearned run. . Chicago announced before Saturday’s game that Matt Garza is returning from the disabled list and starting Tuesday in Pittsburgh, while Carlos Villanueva is heading to the bullpen. . Baxter started in right field for the Mets instead of Jordany Valdespin. Mets manager Terry Collins said he made the decision because Baxter was better at facing an off-speed pitcher like Feldman. . Sunday’s pitching matchup is the Mets’ Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.13 ERA) against Travis Wood (4-2, 2.03 ERA).
Red Wings 4, Blackhawks 1
CHICAGO — Damien Brunner and Brendan Smith scored in the second period and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 Saturday in Game 2 to even their Western Conference semifinal series.
It was a strong response by the Red Wings after Chicago handled them easily in the series opener, 4-1.
Just as the Blackhawks did in Game 1, Detroit took control in the second period and put the game away in the third. Now, the Red Wings have a chance to take the lead when this series between Original Six rivals shifts to Detroit for Game 3 on Monday.
Patrick Kane gave Chicago a 1-0 lead late in the first, but did things ever change after that.
Brunner tied it when he deflected a wrist shot by Jakub Kindl early in the second, and Smith gave the Red Wings the lead when he scored off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg on a 3-on-1 late in the second.
Johan Franzen made it 3-1 in the third when he fired a rising shot past Crawford after a perfect pass from Jonathan Ericsson in the Detroit zone. And Valtteri Filppula closed out the scoring with 7:57 left in the game.
That was enough for Jimmy Howard, who stopped 19 shots.
Crawford made 26 saves for Chicago but the Red Wings were simply a step faster in this one after the Blackhawks ran away from them in the opener.
The Blackhawks still struck first thanks to a lucky bounce after Detroit’s Kyle Quincey sprawled out to block a pass across the slot by Patrick Sharp that was intended for Kane on a 2-on-1 rush. The puck bounced to a trailing Michal Handzus, who immediately fed it to a wide open Kane in the right slot. He fired it into the net at the 14:05 mark for a 1-0 lead and his first goal of the playoffs.
About a minute later, with the Red Wings on a power play, Crawford made a nice save on Zetterberg before Pavel Datsyuk ripped a shot high off the right post.
Detroit tied it early in the second when a wrist shot by Kindl from just inside the blue line deflected off Brunner and past a screened Crawford, who didn’t even react as the puck went past him on the glove side.
But Chicago’s goalie had the fans chanting his name midway through the period with two great saves, stopping Zetterberg from the slot and sprawling out to foil Daniel Cleary on the rebound.
The Red Wings took a 2-1 lead with 3:52 left in the second, when Zetterberg dished to Smith on a two-on-one rush after Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson fell racing him for a loose puck.
Notes: LW Drew Miller was in the Red Wings’ lineup for the first time since April 20. He had been sidelined by a broken bone in his right hand. ... F Viktor Stalberg was a healthy scratch for the Blackhawks, just as he was in Game 1. “I don’t like changing too much, but we wanted to get (Dave Bolland) in our lineup,” coach Joel Quenneville said before the game. “It’s comparable to what we’ve done during season. But we’ll see. We can adapt and change at any moment.” ... Quenneville on the early start: “I think the guys, once they get in, they don’t mind playing in the afternoon.”MORE IN Sports WireBOSTON — Opponents are cheering the unceremonious demise of Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer... Full StoryLATROBE, Pa. — Todd Haley came up with the number. Full Story
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