Yankees Stuck In Neutral, Drop Rubber Game
Updated: 8/26/10 7:30 a.m.
TORONTO (AP/WFAN) — The way they’ve fared against the Blue Jays this season, the New York Yankees will hope to have a little cushion in the playoff race before returning to Toronto in late September.
Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill homered and Toronto held on when Curtis Granderson flied out with the bases loaded Wednesday night to end the Blue Jays’ 6-3 win over the Yankees.
New York is 5-7 against Toronto this season, making them one of two AL teams against whom the Yankees have a losing record. Tampa Bay (5-6) is the other.
“These guys definitely get overlooked,” outfielder Brett Gardner said of the Blue Jays. “They’ve got some good arms, not only in the rotation but in the bullpen. They’ve got some guys in the lineup who are swinging the bats well and sometimes we have trouble getting them out.”
Toronto took two of three against the Yankees, who remain tied with Tampa Bay for the AL East lead. New York has six games left against Toronto and right-hander Phil Hughes knows each one will be tough.
“We have to come back and play these guys tough because they’re not backing off at all,” Hughes said.
Down 6-2 with two outs and none on in the ninth, the Yankees rallied. Jason Frasor was pulled after a pair of walks and closer Kevin Gregg gave up an RBI single to Eduardo Nunez and hit Derek Jeter with a pitch that loaded the bases.
Gregg retired Granderson on a routine fly just short of the warning track in center field for his 29th save in 33 chances.
Wells drove in four runs. He tripled to right in the first, homered to left in the third and had an infield single in the fourth.
Hill came in 0 for 20 and was dropped from sixth to eighth in the order, but walked twice before homering to left in the fifth.
Toronto leads the majors with 192 homers this season, including 34 in August.
Brett Cecil (11-6) allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings, matching his career high. He walked two and struck out five.
“He’s probably pitched as well as anybody on this club,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “He feels like he belongs here. He’s got some confidence going.”
Cecil is 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA in nine starts against AL East opponents this season, including 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts facing the Yankees, the team he grew up rooting for.
“When I’m on the mound, you have to forget about that stuff,” Cecil said. “It’s my job now.”
The Yankees had won the previous six starts that Hughes (15-6) had made against Toronto, but never led in this one. Wells put the Blue Jays in front with an RBI triple in the first and scored on a passed ball.
After Jose Bautista drew a one-out walk in the third, Wells hit his 23rd home run.
Wells chased Hughes in the fourth with a bases-loaded infield hit. Second baseman Robinson Cano’s flip to Jeter was high, allowing Bautista to slide in safely as Hill scored from third. Girardi came out to argue, then pointed to the bullpen.
Javier Vazquez, bumped from the rotation Tuesday in place of rookie right-hander Ivan Nova, came on and ended the inning by getting Adam Lind to fly out. Vazquez gave up one run in 4 1-3 innings.
“To go out there and throw some zeros up there is good for me,” Vazquez said.
Hughes, who came in 6-2 with a 2.81 ERA in nine road starts, gave up five runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings, his shortest start of the season and the most runs he’s allowed away from home this year. He walked five, matching a season-high, and struck out six.
Hughes blamed poor command for his abbreviated outing.
“It seemed like I was just missing and that was kind of the problem the whole night, whether I was missing out of the zone for walks or in the zone for a rocket hit hard somewhere,” Hughes said. “It seemed like that was kind of the theme of the night.”
Marcus Thames hit a two-run drive to left in the fourth, his sixth home run and second in as many games.
New York first baseman Mark Teixeira, who had four hits in Tuesday’s 11-5 win, went 0 for 4 with a strikeout and grounded into two double plays.
NOTES: Yankees OF Nick Swisher was scratched from the lineup with a sore left knee. He fouled a pitch off his knee in the seventh inning Tuesday. “He was going to try to stretch and try to get loose and it just really never got loose,” Girardi said, adding he expects Swisher will play Friday in Chicago. Granderson moved up to bat second while Brett Gardner started in left field and hit eighth, with Austin Kearns moving from left to right. … New York DH Nick Johnson will require a second surgery on his injured right wrist, Girardi said. Johnson has not played since May 7. … The Blue Jays have gone deep 107 times in home games, the most in baseball. … Toronto LHP Ricky Romero, who was away from the team the past two days because of strep throat, rejoined the team and will start Thursday against Detroit.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)