Brett Gardner Grand Slam Keys 11-Run Inning in Yankees’ Rout of Blue Jays

Brett Gardner Grand Slam Keys 11-Run Inning in Yankees' Rout of Blue Jays NEW YORK — Andy Pettitte kept
ducking down the dugout tunnel between innings Saturday, trying to find
some air conditioning on a steamy summer afternoon.

When he headed inside during the third
inning, he might as well have taken a nap.

Brett Gardner hit his first career
grand slam and Alex Rodriguez drove in four more runs during the
Yankees' biggest offensive outburst in five years, which took 37 minutes
and carried New York to an 11-3 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays.

"You want your guys to keep scoring,"
Pettitte said, "but it was a long inning."

Pettitte had to get up a couple of
times to play catch and keep warm while the scoring merry go-round was
in full spin. The Yankees sent 15 batters to the plate and scored all
their runs during the third inning, their most prolific punch since
getting 13 runs in the eighth against Tampa Bay on June 21, 2005.

"It's baseball. It's the only way to
describe it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, shaking his head.
"Sometimes it doesn't make sense."

Gardner's slam knocked Blue Jays ace
Ricky Romero from the game after 2 2/3 innings, the shortest start of
his career. He allowed eight of the 11 runs, the most given up by
Toronto in an inning since Kansas City also scored 11 times in the
seventh on Aug. 6, 1979.

"It was just a bad inning," Romero
said. "In fact, a bad day for me."

Pettitte (10-2) limited the Blue Jays
to Jose Bautista's two-run homer in the first and Alex Gonzalez's solo
shot in the sixth. The 38-year-old left-hander went six innings to match
CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes with 10 wins, marking the fourth time in
the past 50 years that a trio of Yankees have reached double-digits
before the All-Star break.

It was also Pettitte's first home win
over the Blue Jays since Aug. 2, 1999, and it should give Girardi a
lasting impression as he helps finalize selections for the AL All-Star
roster, which will be announced Sunday. Pettitte hasn't been an All-Star
since 2001.

"In years past, I thought I might
have had a chance to go and I didn't," Pettitte said. "There's a lot of
guys deserving of it, and it's out of my hands."

The Yankees had been scuffling at the
plate while losing three of their last four, managing just nine runs
while A-Rod, Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter went a combined 7-for-45.

That futility ended when Gardner led
off the third with a single to left field. Jeter drew his second
straight walk and Nick Swisher singled to load the bases for Mark
Teixeira
, who hit a tying, two-run double down the left-field line.

The boys in pinstripes were off and
running.

Rodriguez followed with an RBI
fielder's choice, a grounder that Romero (6-5) misplayed, and Cano hit a
run-scoring single into the right-field corner.

The Blue Jays looked as though they
might escape any more damage when Jorge Posada flied out and Curtis
Granderson
nubbed a grounder, but he hustled down the line to beat the
throw to first base. Then everything unraveled: Romero plunked Chad
Huffman
to load the bases again and Gardner hit a full-count pitch into
the stands in right field to make it 8-2.

"I told somebody that I've never hit a
grand slam before — Little League, high school, college," Gardner said.
"I don't hit a lot of home runs."

This one forced Romero into the
clubhouse and Brian Tallet in from the bullpen, and he promptly walked
the bases loaded for the third time in the inning.

A-Rod followed with a high pop fly
that left fielder John McDonald lost in the sun. When the ball landed
softly on the outfield grass, Rodriguez was standing on second base with
a double, New York led 11-3 and the crowd of 46,364 was on its feet in a
roar.

"I saw it the whole way, until the
very end," McDonald said. "It was frustrating because I stayed with it
the whole way and then lost it."

Notes
Yankees OF Marcus Thames
(right hamstring) was expected to play nine innings Saturday for
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He could be activated Sunday. …
Yankees GM Brian Cashman turned 43 on Saturday. … Bautista has 21
homers this season. He came into the game tied with Detroit's Miguel
Cabrera
and the White Sox slugger Paul Konerko for the major league
lead. … The Yankees lead the majors with eight grand slams. The club
record is 10, set in 1987.

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