Alfonso Soriano hits 2 HRs in Yanks' rout of Jays; pitch injures Cano's hand
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TORONTO - It was the kind of night that demonstrated maybe, just maybe, the Yankees have a miracle September run in them.
With Andy Pettitte as sharp as he's been all season and Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rodriguez leading an impressive power show, the Yankees blew past the overmatched Blue Jays, 7-1, Tuesday night in front of 34,047 at Rogers Centre.
"It was a good win for us,'' said Pettitte, who allowed five hits in seven shutout innings. "We needed it after last night's [5-2 loss], that's for sure.''
The Yankees (70-62), who entered the night 4½ games out of the AL's final wild-card spot, improved to 12-5 since Aug. 11.
They appeared to survive a major scare in the first inning when Robinson Cano had to leave the game after getting hit on the left hand by a 90-mph J.A. Happ fastball. X-rays came back negative and Cano, who was diagnosed with a contusion, said he thought Friday was a realistic day he could be back.
"We're all relieved,'' Rodriguez said of the Cano news. "It's been a crazy year. I've never seen more guys go down.''
A-Rod went deep for the second time in as many days, giving him four home runs this season and a total of 651, nine shy of Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
Soriano hit two home runs to allow him to reach a milestone, 400 homers. The outfielder's three-run shot in the first gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead, and his solo blast in the third made it 5-0. Mark Reynolds' homer in the sixth put the Yankees up 6-0.
"I'm very proud,'' said the 37-year-old Soriano, now with 10 homers in 25 games this month. "I never thought I'd hit 400 homers in the big leagues with my size.''
Soriano has provided exactly what the Yankees hoped he would when they acquired him from the Cubs in late July.
"He's been great for us,'' Joe Girardi said. "He's a big reason that we've scored a lot more runs and we've won a lot more games. He's been a big part of it.''
The Yankees attacked Happ, who allowed five runs and seven hits in 42/3 innings, from the start. Brett Gardner led off by stroking a double off the wall in right on the second pitch, and he moved to third on Happ's wild pitch.
Derek Jeter, who went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game back Monday, banged a single up the middle to bring in Gardner. It was the first of two hits for Jeter.
After Cano was hit, Soriano jumped on Happ's first pitch and slammed it off the facing of the third deck in left, flipping his bat away in admiration of the monstrous three-run shot.
"It's been impressive what he's been doing since he's been with us,'' Pettitte said of Soriano.
"You knew he could hit. He looks like a young man out there and you know he's not. Some story. Hopefully, we can keep it going. Great pickup for us. It's energizing when you have a special player like that come and be able to hit for that kind of power.''
But in many ways, Pettitte's continued resurgence was the story of the night.
The 41-year-old lefthander, 10-9 with a 4.05 ERA, came into the game 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA over his previous five starts. Before that, he lost five of seven starts, going 2-5 with a 5.11 ERA.
"I just felt like everything was working for me,'' Pettitte said. "I'm just feeling better . . . the biggest thing, like I've said for several months, the pitches weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing, and they're cooperating right now. Hopefully, they'll cooperate the rest of the season."