New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre gave almost all of his regulars a day off yesterday. Then he gave himself a break, too.
With the Yankees already ensured home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, Torre turned over the World Series champions to outfielder Paul O'Neill in a 6-2 loss to host Tampa Bay that ended the regular season.
"As a fan, I can watch and second-guess like the best of them," said Torre, who got his 400th victory as the Yankees' manager Saturday night.
"I get a kick out of it. It keeps the players interested and they had a little fun. In a 162-game season, it's nice to be able to enjoy the last day."
O'Neill, who bruised his right side and lower back when he crashed into a fence Saturday night, filled Torre's role as manager and Joe Girardi stood in for bench coach Don Zimmer as the Yankees used a lineup featuring one regular -- catcher Jorge Posada.
"I looked around at the veteran guys. Chili [Davis] didn't want any part of it. He wanted a couple of at-bats," Torre said. "I can't have somebody who's playing be the manager. I was a player-manager for two weeks and didn't do it very well."
Randy Winn's inside-the-park grand slam for Tampa Bay, however, left O'Neill with few decisions to ponder. The homer off Jeff Juden (0-1) capped a six-run fourth inning that wiped out a 2-0 Yankees lead.
"We're looking forward to the playoffs, so you can have fun with this game," said O'Neill, who joked that his teammates didn't "play for me.
"I'm walking around before the game asking guys if they will do this for me, they'd say `no.' It was quite a challenge and we didn't live up to it."
BLUE JAYS 9, INDIANS 2: David Wells, who won't have a chance to torment Cleveland in the playoffs this year, beat the Indians at Jacobs Field.
Wells pitched his league-leading seventh complete game, scattering 10 hits. Last year, Wells was 2-0 against the Indians in the AL championship series. The Yankees traded him to Toronto last spring for Roger Clemens, and Wells went 17-10 with a 4.82 ERA, making him 51-24 in the last three seasons. Clemens, coming off consecutive AL Cy Young Awards, slumped to 14-10 with a 4.70 ERA.
ANGELS 1, RANGERS 0: Tim Salmon hit a seventh-inning home run and Jarrod Washburn came within an out of the first complete game of his career as Anaheim won at home. In a typically snappy end-of-season game played in 1 hour 56 minutes, the teams combined to strike out 22 times.
ATHLETICS 3, MARINERS 1: Ron Mahay pitched five strong innings in his first major league start and combined with four relievers on a four-hitter for host Oakland.
WHITE SOX 1, TWINS 1: Chicago and Minnesota ended disappointing seasons with a rain-shortened tie at Comiskey Park. The game was called after 6 1/2 innings.
TIGERS-ROYALS, CANCELED: The regular season finale between Detroit and host Kansas City was rained out.