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Tuesday August 28, 2001
Blue Jays 0 @ Yankees 4

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The Toronto Blue Jays helped make Mike Mussina's job easy Tuesday night.

Aided by five outs on the bases, Mussina held Toronto scoreless for eight innings to lead the New York Yankees to a 4-0 victory.

"When you get outs on the bases like that, it's a nice bonus," Mussina said. "It really shortens the game for me as a pitcher."

The Blue Jays have been very aggressive on the basepaths of late. While two caught stealing in the first two innings didn't bother Buck Martinez, three gaffes that led to outs at third base did.

"Three outs at third base -- it's inexcusable," Martinez said. "That's poor baserunning, every aspect it. You can't allow the Yankees those kinds of easy outs. They eat it up."

Derek Jeter had three hits and Tino Martinez homered for the Yankees, who rebounded from a 3-4 road trip with the win that moved them five games ahead of second-place Boston in the AL East.

"We've been in position to extend our lead but let it slip away from us," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "This is the time of year where each game is magnified. We have to establish what we are about. Hopefully tonight was the start of that."

Mussina (13-11), the third-worst supported starter in the AL coming into the game, has been frustrated lately by the lack of runs from his new teammates. But he took control of the situation himself against Toronto.

The right-hander gave up six hits, two walks and struck out six as he didn't allow a run for the second time in his past three starts. With a start at Boston coming up Sunday, Torre didn't give him a chance to finish the shutout.

"He was a lot crisper tonight," Torre said. "He worked quicker and he seemed to have a little more on the ball. ... It is important for him to get into a groove."

Mike Stanton put two runners on in the ninth before Mariano Rivera came on and retired pinch-hitter Chris Latham for his 41st save in 47 chances.

New York beat Toronto for the sixth straight time and ended the Blue Jays' four-game winning streak.

Esteban Loaiza (9-11) allowed four runs -- three earned -- and 10 hits in five-plus innings to snap his four-start winning streak against the Yankees, including three this year.

Toronto scored 29 runs in those games, hammering rookies Christian Parker, Randy Keisler and Brett Jodie. But Mussina, helped out by poor Toronto baserunning and airtight defense from the Yankees, gave up nothing.

Vernon Wells and Brad Fullmer each got caught off second base on infield grounders, and Shannon Stewart ran the Blue Jays out of a potential big inning when he was caught rounding third too far on Carlos Delgado's double in the fourth.

"Against the Yankees, you can't make those kinds of mistakes," Wells said.

Delgado nearly came up with a big hit with runners on first and third and two outs in the sixth, but his sinking liner was caught by a sliding Paul O'Neill in right field to end the threat.

"It could have landed on the foul line, but Paulie made a nice play," Mussina said.

The Blue Jays went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Mussina.

The Yankees had all the runs they would need just two batters into the game. Jeter singled and scored on O'Neill's double. Jorge Posada added an RBI single in the third, Martinez hit his 29th homer in the sixth and New York scored its fourth run on a throwing error by Wells in center field.

Game notes
The Blue Jays tested Posada early, with three stolen base attempts in the first two innings. Posada, who injured a toe on his left foot Sunday, threw out two of the three runners. ... NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick threw out the first pitch. ... Toronto OF Jose Cruz Jr., who has seven homers in 13 games against the Yankees this season, was scratched from the lineup with a strained lower right abdomen. Wells started in his place and went 2-for-4. Cruz pinch hit in the ninth and flied out. ... The Yankees have scored 114 runs in Mussina's 28 starts.