Weaver Pitches Gem, Yanks Beat Jays

Jeff Weaver (5-7) was lights out against the Blue Jays on Sunday, pitching easily his best game of the season. He held the hard-hitting Jays to just four hits and a run over eight innings as the Yankees pounded Kelvim Escobar. Jason Giambi homered drove in four runs behind Weaver to propel the Yanks to a 6-2 victory.

Giambi gave Weaver all the run support he would need in the first inning. After Derek Jeter hit a one-out single, Giambi launched his third homer in three games to right field to give the Yanks a 2-0 lead.

The Yanks scored three more in the second inning off of Escobar, who had his worst outing of the year. Karim Garcia drove in a run with a single to make it 3-0 Yankees. Three batters later, Giambi walked with the bases loaded for another run, then Escobar uncorked a wild pitch to let Garcia score from third. After Bernie Williams walked to reload the bases, Escobar left the game.

Escobar (5-6) took the loss, allowing five runs in just 1 1/3 innings. He gave up six hits and walked two while striking out just one. He also hit a batter.

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From there, it was the Jeff Weaver show. He allowed a run in the fourth on a Carlos Delgado RBI single, but that was it for Toronto. Weaver pitched eight strong innings, retiring the side in order in five of them, allowing just four hits without walking a batter. He also struck out a season-high seven batters, including Eric Hinske three times.

Mariano Rivera allowed a run in the ninth inning, but struck out Tom Wilson to end the game.

This was Weaver's third strong outing in a row. He retired 21 batters in a row against the Mets two weeks ago, then pitched well against Cleveland but took a loss anyway. He has shown signs of being able to pitch the way the Yankees know he can, and if he can keep up this level of performance, good things will happen.

The Yankees finished the first half of their season with a 57-36 record, two games ahead of the Red Sox atop the American League East.

Next up for the Yankees is the All-Star break. Jason Giambi, Alfonso Soriano, Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada will be attending the festivities, with the latter three starting in the game. After the three-day break, the Yankees start off a homestand with a three-game set against the Indians. Enjoy the break!


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