Run Support Saves Weaver In Debut

When pitching for the Detroit Tigers, Jeff Weaver had measly run support, receiving only 3.4 runs per game. Mr. Weaver, welcome to the New York Yankees. Weaver, acquired in a three way trade early Saturday, struggled at times in his debut, but was bailed out by the Yankee offense. Led by Derek Jeter and the rest of the Yankee offense, the Yanks gave Weaver plenty of run support in their 10-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Weaver got in trouble early, allowing a leadoff double by Vernon Wells and an infield single by Shannon Stewart. Carlos Delgado belted the very next pitch by Weaver over the center field wall, giving the Blue Jays an early three run lead.

After a shaky first inning, Weaver settled down and proceeded to retire nine straight batters. But trouble loomed in the fifth inning, as Ken Huckaby led off with a single to right, and Joe Lawrence walked. With no outs and two men on base, Vernon Wells drilled a home run into the left field stands, the second home run hit off of Weaver in the game.

Weaver, known for his ability to keep the ball in the park as he had given up only 4 home runs in over 120 innings of work this year, failed to live up to his reputation today as he gave up two home runs in just 7 innings of work. But besides those two disastrous innings, Weaver was excellent, as he allowed no runners to reach base with four strikeouts. After the second home run, Weaver again retired nine straight.

The Yanks tied the game at three in the third inning, with Rondell White leading off with a single to left. After Enrique Wilson struck out, Alfonso Soriano took the first pitch he saw and drove it into center field, as White hustled around second into third base. The hustle paid off, as Derek Jeter grounded out to second base as White crossed home plate, giving the Yanks their first run of the game. After Jason Giambi walked on five pitches, Bernie Williams was able to drop an RBI single over second basemen Joe Lawrence's head into center field scoring Soriano. The inning continued as Raul Mondesi laced a ball down the foul line that ricochet off of third basemen Eric Hinske's glove into foul territory for an RBI infield single that scored Giambi.

The Yanks again responded after Well's home run in the bottom half of the fifth inning trailing 6-3, with an RBI double from Williams and a groundout by Robin Ventura that scored Williams, cutting the deficit to one run.

That spelled the end of the night for Blue Jay's starter Chris Carpenter, who was replaced by Corey Thurman. Neither Carpenter nor Thurman could contain the Yanks, as Thurman gave up a pivotal two run home run to Derek Jeter, giving the Yanks the lead for good.

The start by Weaver could be the last for the 25 year old, as he was filling in for an injured Roger Clemens. However, Weaver seemed to accept his eventual role in the bullpen, but will probably get several spot starts the rest of the season because of the injury plagued Yankee pitching staff.

With half of the season under their legs, the Yankees find themselves with the second best record in baseball (they trail the Braves by half of a game) and two games above the Red Sox, whom they had trailed for much of the season, going into the All Star break.



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