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A-Rod calls on Yanks to start pressing

A-Rod calls on Yanks to start pressing

TORONTO -- As the dates continue to fall off the calendar, Alex Rodriguez is among those who believe the Yankees need to begin pushing the envelope a little more, taking chances to counteract the fact that their postseason odds are dwindling.

Rodriguez made one such decision after watching the Yankees struggle to put up runs in the series opener at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. Limited to one run through eight innings by A.J. Burnett, Rodriguez made an aggressive turn around first base and headed for second on a ball hit down the right-field line off closer B.J. Ryan.

What followed was what Rodriguez called "an unbelievable play," as first baseman Lyle Overbay tracked the ball and fired a strike to shortstop John McDonald, who tagged out Rodriguez.

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The play did not exactly earn a stamp of approval from Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who said, "You have to make sure you're safe. It's a [heck] of a play by Overbay, and he's probably one of the better defenders. But you have to make sure that you're safe. He's being aggressive on a night that we're having a hard time scoring runs."

Rodriguez acknowledged that the lack of offensive support the Yankees are giving their pitchers continues to be troubling. There was little New York could have done with Burnett on Tuesday, as he struck out 13, but the Yankees have still been limited to three or fewer runs in five of their last seven games.

"It's frustrating," Rodriguez said. "These games, we have to be able to at least score three, four or five runs to help these guys."

Stressing the issue is also not new territory for Rodriguez, particularly as the Yankees quietly focus on chipping away at the American League Wild Card.

In one memorable moment from the set in Anaheim, Rodriguez was thrown out trying to steal third base in the eighth inning of a tie game with Xavier Nady batting. The Yankees lost the game and were swept in what Rodriguez called a "devastating series."

"The one thing is, I don't think we should play passive or let the games come to us," Rodriguez said. "We need to make the plays early in the games to drive in runs."

Pitching matchup
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (12-9, 4.30 ERA)
Pettitte pitched seven solid innings to keep the Yankees in the game on Friday night, coming away with his second straight no-decision. It marked just his fifth no-decision of the season. The lefty held the Royals to six hits and struck out seven, but he was hurt by walks, as two of the four runners he put on base by the walk crossed home plate. Pettitte was tagged for three runs, but he worked himself out of several jams to limit the damage and said he felt good on the mound. In his last outing against Toronto, Pettitte gave up eight hits and four runs through six innings to take the loss.

TOR: LHP David Purcey (2-3, 5.93 ERA)
Purcey fell behind in a lot of counts in his last start, but managed to escape any damage, spinning six shutout innings against the Tigers on Wednesday. Purcey, who logged 99 pitches in the effort, might have pitched deeper into the game had it not been for a 49-minute rain delay in the top of the seventh inning. The left-hander finished with four strikeouts and three walks, scattering just two hits in the win over Detroit. Purcey is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts at Rogers Centre this season.

Tidbits
The Yankees have not made a final determination on who will start Saturday in Baltimore, though the competition appears to be between right-handers Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano. A decision is expected to be made by Thursday. ... Right-hander Joba Chamberlain made 60 throws at varying distances of 70 to 90 feet on Tuesday, the fourth time he has played catch since being placed on the disabled list with right rotator cuff tendinitis. Chamberlain will rest Wednesday and throw again Thursday with a catcher on flat ground before possibly throwing a bullpen session on Saturday in Baltimore. ... Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang was still in a walking cast during the Yankees' recent homestand and Girardi acknowledged that an October return is now unlikely for New York's Opening Day starter. ... Shortstop Derek Jeter has a five-game hitting streak and is batting .565 (13-for-23) over that span. ... Right fielder Bobby Abreu has six hits in his last 16 at-bats (.375).

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, WNSW 1430 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Yankees (Sidney Ponson, 7-3, 4.19) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 14-9, 2.64), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Friday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 16-7, 3.35) at Orioles (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (TBD) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 10-9, 3.15), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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