Morrow goes 7, pitches Blue Jays past Yankees 6-0
TORONTO (AP) — Brandon Morrow used variety, not velocity, to beat the New York Yankees.
Morrow and two relievers combined on a five-hitter, pitching the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-0 victory Thursday night that trimmed New York's lead in the tight AL East.
Morrow (9-7) scattered four hits over seven innings, walked three and struck out three to win for the first time in five starts. Even though his fastball was a few mph slower than normal, the right-hander kept the Yankees off balance by varying his pitch selection.
"We stayed with a good mix of everything all night, tried to keep them off balance and not fall into any patterns," Morrow said.
The assortment of off-speed pitches proved to be a problem for the Yankees, held scoreless for the sixth time this season.
"It didn't seem like he was really raring back tonight," New York's Nick Swisher said of Morrow. "It felt like he was pitching. He was throwing a lot more cutters than I remember, a lot more changeups, breaking balls, things like that, rather than that flat 96 (mph). He did a good job."
Yankees catcher Russell Martin said Morrow was aggressive in the strike zone.
"Every time you're in there it feels like you're behind in the count," Martin said. "He was just getting strike one really early and mixing his pitches."
It was Morrow's longest outing since returning from the disabled list Aug. 25 after missing 65 games with a strained muscle in his left side.
"You always want to try and finish up strong," Morrow said. "It takes a little while to get back into a groove (after an injury), but I've felt good the whole time."
Brad Lincoln worked the eighth and Darren Oliver finished for the Blue Jays, who have won three of four following a seven-game losing streak.
Edwin Encarnacion had three hits and three RBIs. Brett Lawrie hit a two-run homer and J.P. Arencibia added a solo shot as the Blue Jays handed an assist to idle Baltimore, shaving New York's division lead over the Orioles to one game.
The Yankees lost for the third time in five games and wasted a chance to go two up with six to play.
"We know what's at stake right now and we've just got to go out there and keep picking up wins," Swisher said. "We've got a little six-game playoff race."
Making his third start since missing 14 games with a sore right shoulder, New York right-hander Ivan Nova (12-8) allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.
"I'm not pitching the way I want and I'm not getting the result I want, so that's not good," Nova said.
Knocked out in the third inning of his previous start, Nova has not won back-to-back outings since a five-start winning streak from May 25 to June 17. The 87 extra-base hits off him are the most yielded by any big league pitcher.