Delgado And Halladay Tear Through Yankees

Carlos Delgado homered twice off of Andy Pettitte and Roy Halladay kept the Yankees' offense at bay as the Blue Jays topped New York 8-3. The loss cut the Yankees' lead over the Boston Red Sox to a half of a game and was their fourth consecutive loss at home. To make matters worse, the Yankees learned before the game that Bernie Williams would require surgery on his left knee and would probably miss 4-6 weeks.

Williams' knee had been bothering him for the past two weeks, and his performance was reflecting it. His average dropped to an un-Bernie-like .286, and he was 0-21 over his last five games. Bernie will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in the knee. It is likely that Juan Rivera will be called up to take his place on the roster, with Hideki Matsui possible seeing time in centerfield.

Thursday's game took place on a gloomy New York night. Andy Pettitte was rocked early and often, particularly by Delgado. The slugging first baseman launched a three-run homerun in the first inning, and then connected on a two-run shot in the fifth to put the Blue Jays up 6-1.

Halladay (5-2) picked up his fifth straight win, pitching seven innings, allowing two runs on nine hits while fanning five Yankees. The only runs he allowed were on RBI singles to Charles Gipson – starting in centerfield for Williams – and Robin Ventura in the second and third innings.

Andy Pettitte, on the other hand, lost his fourth consecutive start – a career worst – to fall to 4-5 on the season. The lefty struggled through just 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out five. His ERA ballooned from 4.47 to 5.28 after the game.

Sterling Hitchcock relieved Pettitte and pitched well for 4 1/3 innings. Hitchcock allowed just one run, a homerun to Shannon Stewart, on four hits and a walk. He also struck out six batters. Hitchcock, originally viewed as a weak link in the bullpen, has shined so far, posting a 2.55 ERA in 17 2/3 innings.

Stewart was 2-4 on the night with three RBI.

Raul Mondesi drove home Jason Giambi – who had two hits – in the eighth inning to make the score 8-3.

Game two of the four-game series is Friday at 7:05 pm. Mike Mussina (7-2, 2.22) will try to right the ship for the Yankees. He will face Kelvim Escobar (1-1, 7.08), making just his second start of the season.

Notes: Joe Torre shuffled his lineup in the absence of Williams. Matsui moved to the two spot, and Derek Jeter batted third, followed by Giambi and Jorge Posada … Posada left the game in the eighth inning after being hit by a pitch in the knee. He was hit earlier in the game on the foot. John Flaherty ran for him and caught the ninth inning … Gipson stole two bases … Jose Contreras pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two … The Blue Jays are now 14-6 in May.

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