TORONTO (AP) — For Yankees manager Joe Girardi, too much tinkering with an underperforming lineup can be a dangerous game, like trying to time the market.
But right now, almost all of Girardi’s hitters are slumping worse than any Wall Street stock.
Jose Bautista and J.P. Arencibia each hit two-run home runs, Drew Hutchison won consecutive starts for the first time and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 4-1 Thursday night, sweeping their two-game series.
“As a team, we’re collectively not getting it done and we need to get better,” Girardi said.
Before the game, Girardi said he was resisting the temptation to make change for changes sake, hoping his dormant sluggers would rouse themselves.
“Hitters are going to go through peaks and valleys,” he said. “If you start trying to time it, it’s probably like trying to time the market.”
After a five-hit performance that saw his team went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, Girardi insisted he wasn’t losing faith.
“Offenses are going to go through that,” he said. “I’ve got to tell you, it’s no fun when you’re going through it. The guys don’t look like they’re having a lot of fun. But they’re doing their work and they’re preparing and it’ll change.
New York lost its third straight and fell to 0-9 this season when failing to hit at least one home run. The Yankees, who have scored 12 total runs in nine losses this month, dropped a half game behind Toronto and into fourth place in the AL East.
Like New York’s hitting woes, that slip in the standings was of little concern to shortstop Derek Jeter.
“I’m not going to look at the scoreboard now,” Jeter said. “You drive yourself crazy if you start looking at the scoreboard in the middle of May. I don’t see anybody popping champagne in the middle of May, just like I don’t see anyone hanging their heads in the middle of May.”
Making just his sixth major league start, Hutchison (3-1) allowed one run and five hits in six innings, matching his longest outing. He walked four and struck out three.
“The kid’s aggressive,” Girardi said. “He’s got some deception to his fastball. He’s got some movement. He’s not afraid to throw strikes.”
Jason Friseur worked the seventh, Darren Oliver pitched the eighth and Casey Janssen finished in the ninth for his second save in three opportunities.
The Yankees opened the scoring in the first when Curtis Granderson drew a one-out walk and scored on Robinson Cano’s double.
Jeter and Granderson had consecutive one-out singles in the fifth but Cano flied out and Mark Teixeira popped out to end the threat.
“We should have scored a few runs early, that was the problem,” Teixeira said.
Toronto took the lead for good in the third when Bautista followed Yunel Escobar’s single with a towering blast to left, his second homer in as many nights and his 10th this season.
Bautista has homered five times in his past seven games. He went 2 for 4, boosting his average to .207.
“If going deep five times in seven games isn’t locked in then we’re in for a real treat if he’s yet to click in,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
Bautista’s drive came off New York righty Phil Hughes (3-5), who lost for the first time in three starts. Hughes allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out five.
“I didn’t really have a feel for my breaking ball at all,” Hughes said. “It was a struggle and I was just trying to keep us in the game.”
Arencibia gave the Blue Jays some extra cushion when he drilled a two-out drive to left off Cory Wade in the seventh, his fifth. Like Bautista, Arencibia also went deep in Toronto’s 8-1 win over New York on Wednesday, a game that featured four Blue Jays homers.
NOTES: New York 3B Alex Rodriguez got the night off. … Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie dropped his appeal and began serving a four-game suspension for throwing a batting helmet that bounced and hit umpire Bill Miller. … Toronto demoted 1B Adam Lind to Triple-A Las Vegas and selected the contract of INF Yan Gomes. Gomes started at third base Thursday, becoming the first Brazilian-born player in major league history. … Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte, who’ll start Friday against Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo, flew home ahead of the team to prepare for his second comeback outing. … New York RHP Ivan Nova (right ankle) threw a bullpen before the game and is expected to make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Reds. … The Yankees acquired INF Matt Antonelli off waivers from Baltimore. To make room on the 40-man roster, LHP Cesar Cabral (broken left elbow) was moved to the 60-day disabled list. … The game was briefly halted when a fan ran on the field in the top of the ninth. … Thursday was the 14th anniversary of David Wells’ perfect game against Minnesota.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)