BLUE JAYS 8, YANKEES 1
TORONTO — Woe, Canada.
That’s what the Yankees were feeling after one of their ugliest losses of the season, an 8-1 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays to start a two-game set at Rogers Centre.
There was a lot of blame to go around for the lopsided loss. Hiroki Kuroda was beat up over five-plus innings and the Bombers continued to struggle at the plate.
“Ugly game,” Joe Girardi said.
Kuroda gave up seven runs on eight hits — three of them home runs — and two walks in his worst outing of the season.
As large as the deficit was, it felt even larger as the Yankees couldn’t get anything going at the plate, posting another dismal night with runners in scoring position (1-for-8) while stranding nine.
“We got in a hole and it seemed like every hitter was trying to hit a three-run homer with nobody on,” Russell Martin said. “That’s not how you win ballgames.”
Kyle Drabek limited the Yankees to one run on three hits over seven innings, walking four and striking out five to snap his four-game losing streak.
Mark Teixeira, who provided the only run with an RBI single in the sixth, compared the 24-year-old’s devastating sinker to that of former Blue Jays Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, who’s now with the Phillies.
“It felt like Halladay was out there tonight; he just wasn’t getting the ball up in the zone at all,” Teixeira said. “He was going to win that game without eight runs.”
The Yankees fell to 7-8 this month, and in the eight losses they are an anemic 3-for-52 with runners in scoring position, a .058 average.
“Guys have got to do it; that’s the bottom line,” Girardi said. “We’ve got to get it done. There’s no panic in here. We play a lot of games. We’ve got over 120 games left. Our guys have got plenty of chances to do a lot of damage.”
Kuroda breezed through a quick first inning, a major victory for the righthander whose first-inning ERA had been 9.00 through his first seven starts.
Instead, it turned out to be his only good inning of the night.
After Edwin Encarnacion opened the second with a single, Robinson Cano dropped a ball while trying to complete a double play, giving the Blue Jays an extra out. That out came back to haunt Kuroda, as J.P. Arencibia launched a two-out, two-run homer to left-center, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead.
Kuroda recorded two quick outs to open the third before Eric Thames doubled and Jose Bautista walked, setting up Encarnacion’s laser to center, his three-run blast landing in the black seats beyond the 400-foot sign.
“I almost got out of the inning both of the times, but I gave up home runs with two outs,” Kuroda said through his translator. “I wish I could take those pitches back, but unfortunately I couldn’t.”
Toronto scored another two-out run in the fourth, then Bautista put an exclamation point on Kuroda’s outing with a rocket to left field, his solo home run pushing the Blue Jays’ lead to seven runs.
“This type of day can happen to anybody,” Martin said. “It’s not typical of Hiro to have this type of outing, but it can happen to anyone. It’s a tough league, but he’s a quality pitcher. He can bounce back.”
While Kuroda struggled through each inning, Drabek had little trouble taming the Yankees, holding them to one hit over the first five innings.
The Yankees had a glimmer of hope in the seventh after Drabek issued a pair of one-out walks, but a terrible call by second base umpire C.B. Bucknor deflated the rally.
Curtis Granderson hit a grounder to short, where Omar Vizquel fielded it and flipped to Kelly Johnson at second. Jayson Nix beat the throw by a step, but Bucknor called him out. What should have been a one-out bases loaded threat — with their 2, 3 and 4 hitters due up — turned into inning over when Nick Swisher struck out.
“That’s a big play,” Girardi said. Instead, it was two more innings of frustration before the Yankees walked off with another baffling loss.
“We just have not hit with runners in scoring position on a consistent basis,” Girardi said.