|Soccer star David Beckham makes an appearance at the Blue Jay game on Monday afternoon. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)
While the Blue Jays are wannabe killers, the Yankees are the real thing.
The Yankees, though hip-deep in talent and armed with a dangerous lineup, no longer sport a Murderer's Row. Yet, they certainly know how to lay a mugging on an opponent when the opportunity presents itself.
The Jays, by comparison, lack that killer instinct. They had their shot to open things up yesterday when they had the lead, and the momentum, in the fifth inning, but could manage only one run.
The Yankees, trailing 3-1, then showed how the big boys do it in the top of the sixth.
After Jays starter Jesse Litsch walked Bobby Abreu to open the inning and Alex Rodriguez squeezed a grounder through the hole into left, manager John Gibbons went to left-hander Scott Downs and the Yankees went into overdrive.
Before the inning ended, four runs would cross the plate and the Yankees would go on to post a 5-4 victory before a throng of 42,714 at the Rogers Centre.
"It was that big four-run inning that cost us," Gibbons said.
Hideki Matsui greeted Downs with a bloop RBI single to left and, after Jorge Posada struck out, Robinson Cano doubled to left-centre to score two runs. With two out, Robinson scored on Melky Cabrera's single. The three hits off Downs were all hit by left-handed batters.
The Jays, however, probably shouldn't have been in that predicament in the first place.
In their half of the fifth, with a 2-1 edge, they had second and third and none out, but could manage only an RBI single by Vernon Wells.
"That's big. Tack-on runs are big," Gibbons said about the missed opportunity. "It turned out to be the difference today."
Shortstop John McDonald, who opened the fifth with a double, agreed.
"There was an opportunity there for us to score and only one came out of that inning," he said. "We would have liked to have taken that run and added one or two more and keep the momentum on our side.
"They got out of the inning, which set us back a little bit. And once they got a couple of runs, they really took it back."
Downs entered the game having allowed just one earned run since July 1 and came up against a host of left-handed hitters.
Afterwards, Gibbons wasn't about to throw his reliever under the bus.
"He's been great all year," the manager said. "You can write that one off."
But, as it turns out, not against the Yankees.
The previous run Downs had allowed prior to yesterday was back on July 18 against -- you guessed it -- the Yankees.
This season, they appear to have his number. Downs now has given up just 12 earned runs all season, but seven of them have come against the Yankees.
It was a game the Jays could have, should have, won against a team they can't afford to lose any more ground to.
"It was a game that could have gone either way," Gibbons lamented. "They're swinging the bats right now. They're the hottest team out there since the all-star break."