(Wednesday, September 19th)
Final Score: New York 4, Toronto 2
Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - With the Baltimore Orioles nipping at New York's heels, the Yankees got Andy Pettitte back at just the right time.
Thrust into the thick of the AL East race, the sorely missed 40-year-old Pettitte threw 75 pitches and spun five scoreless frames in his return from the disabled list and New York downed the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-2, in the first game of a doubleheader.
Pettitte (4-3), who fanned three, scattered four hits and walked two, hadn't pitched since June 27 when he was hit with a line drive and suffered a fractured left ankle in a game against the Cleveland Indians. He was slated to start Tuesday, but the contest was postponed because of rain.
"He got some double plays, pitched out of some jams," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Pettitte's performance. "He did a really good job."
New York's shaky rotation, which was 11-13 with a 4.24 ERA over the last four weeks coming in, got a boost with the return of Pettitte. Ivan Nova returned from the disabled list with rotator-cuff inflammation on Saturday.
"There's a lot of experience there," Girardi said of Pettitte. "He knows how to get it done."
Ichiro Suzuki tallied his fourth three-hit game as a Yankee and made a game- saving sliding catch in the eighth inning to preserve a one-run lead for New York.
Toronto cut a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 in the frame, and had men on second and third with two outs, but David Robertson and Rafael Soriano helped the Yankees walk away from the inning with the lead still intact.
Robertson struck out Adeiny Hechavarria and Soriano came on and walked Anthony Gose to load the bases, but Rajai Davis lined a bullet to left field. Suzuki bobbled the ball and let it run up his wrist, but managed to hold onto it to end the frame.
Nick Swisher slapped a two-out RBI single to left field in the home half and Soriano fired a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 41st save of the season.
Henderson Alvarez (9-13) struck out seven, but allowed three runs on five hits for Toronto, which has dropped five of its last seven contests.
The Yanks staked Pettitte an early lead with a three-run first.
Consecutive singles to start the frame by Suzuki and Swisher preceded Robinson Cano's double over the head of Colby Rasmus in center field, which plated Suzuki. Swisher scored on Alex Rodriguez's groundout to first base and Curtis Granderson lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, which pushed across Cano.
The Blue Jays had runners on the corners with two away in both the second and fourth innings, but Pettitte escaped both innings by inducing groundouts to Anthony Gose.
Kelly Johnson had an RBI single and Omar Vizuel hit a run-scoring double down the right-field line in the eighth to make it a 3-2 game.
Cano tallied his 328th career double as a Yankee, which moved him to third on the all-time Yankees doubles list ... New York was 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position, while the Blue Jays finished 3-for-13 and stranded 11.
09/19 16:21:52 ET