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Yankees fall to Blue Jays, Halladay
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07/12/2003  4:10 PM ET 
Yankees fall to Blue Jays, Halladay
Toronto ace too much for Yankee hitters
By Stephanie J. Geosits / Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Yankees failed to convert on a solid outing by Mike Mussina, and proved ineffective both at the plate against Roy Halladay and out of the bullpen on Saturday at SkyDome in a 10-3 loss to the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays improved to 29-45.

"Halladay was lights-out," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He was strike one all the time, but with Moose they had to work a little harder to score. They worked hard and they beat us fair and square."

Toronto took the lead for good in the seventh. With two outs, Mussina (10-6) gave up back-to-back singles to Howie Clark and Chris Woodward before hitting Shannon Stewart with a pitch to load the bases. Frank Catalanotto drove a liner past a diving Derek Jeter to give the Blue Jays a 4-2 lead and up his lifetime average against Mussina to .429.

    Mike Mussina   /   P
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 185
Bats/Throws: R/R

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"He's had a lot of success against Moose," Torre said. "Moose had him 0-for-3 today and I think the problem with that at-bat [was that] he got behind 2-0 trying to make perfect pitches -- not that that's an excuse -- and it just happened that he was patient at the plate."

Mussina and Halladay (13-2) put on a pitching demonstration for much of the game. The Yankees starter left after seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He struck out six and walked just one.

"The whole game can be frustrating when things seem like they could go better and they don't," Mussina said. "We were up against a good pitcher today, and we had to battle and we had to fight. He's having a great year."

The Blue Jays' ace won his 13th straight decision. He went eight innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter, throwing an economical 92 pitches, 66 of which were strikes.

"He really knows what he's doing," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said. "You don't win that many games in a row not knowing what you're doing on the mound. [He's got] location, curveball, everything. He gets ahead of the hitters and goes to work. He's got four outstanding pitches, so he's got to go out there and stay aggressive with it. You've just got to battle with him, and it's tough to battle when you don't know what he's going to throw. Everything he throws, he throws for a strike."

Former Yankee Juan Acevedo started the ninth and gave up a run on an RBI single by Posada to cut Toronto's lead to 10-3. Trever Miller came on to finish the ninth.

Before the game, Torre spoke of his desire for the team to acquire an experienced, preferably left-handed, reliever to help his young, struggling bullpen. That need became apparent in the eighth as the relief corps allowed six runs and turned a tight contest into a blowout.

    Chris Hammond   /   P
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195
Bats/Throws: L/L

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Chris Hammond started the bottom of the eighth, down 4-2, and loaded the bases without recording an out. The New York lefty gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning, and Eric Hinske reached when right fielder Karim Garcia dropped a fly ball.

Torre pulled Hammond and replaced him with Anotonio Osuna, who was activated Saturday from the disabled list after a groin injury. He proceeded to give up a two-run double to Reed Johnson and a two-run single to Howie Clark to increase Toronto's lead to 8-2. With one out, Jason Werth doubled home another run before the Yankees opted for Al Reyes.

"Hammy's been doing a good job for us and Osuna just got back," Torre said. "It's just one of those things. I sense that knowing that we do have inexperience there they may come in trying to do too much sometimes."

When asked if Osuna was limping when he came off the mound, Torre said he was fine but noted, "We're limping because we got the [stuffing] kicked out of us."

Reyes recorded a groundout but gave up an RBI single to Vernon Wells, which put the Blue Jays up 10-2.

"At times it feels like we do [need help in the bullpen] and sometimes it feels like we're all right," Hammond said. "To stay in first place you've got to feel confident all the time or most of the time."

In the sixth, the Yankees showed their only flash of offensive life. With two out, Jeter singled and Jason Giambi homered for the second night in a row to tie the score at 2.

    Jason Giambi   /   1B
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 235
Bats/Throws: L/R

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Halladay one-hit the Yankees through five innings, allowing Posada a single. Alfonso Soriano was the only other baserunner until the sixth. He reached on an error to start the game.

"You have to credit Halladay today," Torre said. "He took advantage. We've been grinding some games out. We've had two outstanding games pitched against us on this road trip. I think we try to be opportunistic. ... We've been a little erratic with our run-scoring. That's just the way it is. There's not a whole lot you can do about it because we have the potential. We've been scoring a lot of runs, but lately it's been feast or famine."

Vernon Wells hit a two-out homer in the first to put Toronto up 1-0. The Blue Jays tacked on another run in the fourth. Carlos Delgado singled to lead off and advanced on a single and a double-play ball. He came home on a Johnson single.

Stephanie J. Geosits is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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