TORONTO -- Toto, I don't think we're in the Bronx anymore.
The New York Yankees' domination of the Toronto Blue Jays at home, which stretched to 16 games with last week's three-game sweep, did not carry across the Canadian border, and now, there is no chance that the Yankees will displace the Jays at the top of the AL East by series end, which was a possibility before this one started.
But after just a few minutes, it was obvious that was not going to happen. Chase Whitley, who had been a revelation in his previous seven starts, came up empty Monday night. And the Yankees' offense, which had showed signs of coming to life last week, reverted to its former comatose state, managing just two hits and one run -- a solo HR from Mark Teixeira -- through the first seven innings before "rallying" for two face-saving runs in the ninth.
The 8-3 loss dropped them to 2½ games behind the Blue Jays in the division and was their third straight loss after four straight wins. Once again, mediocrity beckons.
Rough start: Chase Whitley hadn't been great but extraordinarily steady in his previous seven starts, but he allowed eight hits to the first 11 batters he faced, capped by Adam Lind's three-run homer into the hitting background in remote center-field to give the Jays a 6-0 lead with one out in the second. Whitley, who seemed to be having trouble keeping his pitches down in the zone, had allowed just five hits in each of his past four starts (three wins), and never more than three earned runs. But Monday, he had surpassed his season-highs of both hits and runs before he had even gotten six outs.
Not chasing him: Perhaps figuring the game was a lost cause, Yankees manager Joe Girardi never got anyone up in the bullpen as Whitley was toiling through his nightmarish second inning. No sense burning the bullpen in a game that was out of reach virtually before it started. But Whitley could not get through the fourth inning and wound up giving the Yankees just 3⅓ innings of 11-hit, eight-run ball. In the process, his ERA soared from 2.56 to 4.07.
Historic: Statistically, Whitley's start was the worst by a Yankees starter since the turn of the millennium. On July 29, 1998, Orlando Hernandez had an even worse night, allowing 13 hits and 10 earned runs in 3⅓ innings. El Duque went 12-4 that year, and the Yankees won 125 games and swept the San Diego Padres in the World Series. Omen?
Glove hurts: Jays CF Colby Rasmus got a glove on Mark Teixeira's long fly to straightaway center in the fourth, but the ball glanced off and went over the fence for Tex's 13th HR of the season. It cut Toronto's lead to 7-1.
Streak hitter: Melky Cabrera's first-inning double extended his hitting streak against his former team to 20 games, a streak that includes six home runs and 14 RBIs.