Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 8, Yankees 5
August, 29, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
What it means: That the Yankees, embroiled in a pennant race, have managed to lose two out of three to a team playing out the string after an 8-5 loss today to the Blue Jays. Extent of pennant-race damage unknown until Rays and Orioles games tonight.
Misleading line: CC Sabathia went seven innings, walked no one, struck out eight and allowed just two earned runs. But that only tells part of the story. He also was touched up for nine hits, and couldn't work his way around a Jayson Nix error in the third, allowing four hits to the next five batters. He also twice gave back leads.
Sloppy third: Nix's play on Adeiny Hechavarria's slow roller led to three unearned runs in the third inning. Although Nix and Chris Stewart hooked up on a snappy 5-2 double play two batters later, Sabathia allowed three straight hits, including a double to Yunel Escobar, to allow the Jays to take a 3-2 lead.
Nix-EE: Nix had a rough day at third, booting the third-inning grounder that led to three runs, and another in the ninth that led to another run.
Grand stroke: Curtis Granderson got a break when Toronto LF Rajai Davis broke in on his fly ball, only to watch it sail over his head for a two-run double to give the Yankees back the lead, 4-3, in the bottom of the third. It was Grandy's third RBI of the game -- he knocked in the second run of the first inning with a groundout.
Not again!: The Yankees had second and third with none out, and the bases loaded with one out in the fourth inning and -- stop me if you've heard it before -- failed to score when both Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano struck out. The fans booed the Cano strikeout, which came on a 93 mph fastball from J.A. Happ, but it was unclear whether they were booing the miss, or the missed opportunity.
And again!: Nix led off the sixth with a double -- and couldn't get home because Ichiro struck out, PH Eric Chavez grounded out and Jeter flailed at a pitch in the dirt to end the inning and run the Yankees' RISP futility to 2-for-10 on the day. BTW, Girardi allowing Nix to bat vs. RHP Steve Delabar is just the latest example of Binder Brilliance.
And yet again: Cano doubled with one out in the seventh. You know the rest of the story, but just in case you don't, Jones struck out and Granderson grounded out.
Esco-Bomb: Escobar followed Adam Lind's single with a moon shot into the far left-field bleachers to give Toronto back the lead, 5-4. Escobar had four hits and five RBIs, both career highs.
Tight squeeze: The Blue Jays added an insurance run on a bunt by Jeff Mathis that served two purposes -- it moved Kelly Johnson, who had singled, to second, and it scored Escobar (leadoff double) from third. If you didn't recognize the squeeze play, it's OK; it is something the Yankees have never done during Joe Girardi's five-year tenure as manager.
Bag of tricks: The Yankees got a huge break in the eighth when Russell Martin's grounder hit third base and popped over Hechavarria's head, scoring Raul Ibanez (PH double) with the Yankees' fifth run.
Rasmus haul: Colby Rasmus, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, made a key play in the bottom of the inning, charging Ichiro's dying liner to center and making a diving catch to save the tying run from scoring.
Who's that guy: After saying he would use Joba Chamberlain in "low-leverage situations only," Girardi called upon him for the first time in nine days with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth. He got an opposite-field bloop out of Escobar, only to see Jones miss an attempt at a diving catch, allowing the seventh and eighth Toronto runs to score.
What's next: A much needed off day Thursday, followed by a three-game holiday weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles, who are hanging tough in the AL East race. Probable pitching matchups: Hiroki Kuroda (12-9, 2.98) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (5-3, 3.66) on Friday; Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.90) vs. LHP Wei-Yen Chen (12-7, 3.78) on Saturday and David Phelps (3-4, 2.96) vs. TBA on Sunday afternoon.