Sloppy seventh inning costs Buehrle and Jays in 6-3 loss to Yankees
Friday, Aug 29, 2014 12:01 am
TORONTO - The New York Yankees have owned pitcher Mark Buehrle his entire career, but it didn't look that way Friday night.
Not at first, anyway.
One bad inning and some sloppy play by his teammates left the 35-year-old on the hook for a 6-3 loss against New York.
"Buehrle was damn good tonight," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
The veteran left-hander went six innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs to go along with four strikeouts, but dropped to 11-9 on the season. He remains with just one victory since June 1st, and hasn't beaten the Yankees since Apr. 11, 2004 while still a member of the Chicago White Sox.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-tun homer — part of a five-run seventh inning for the Yankees — off reliever Aaron Loup and Chase Headley added a solo shot off Dustin McGowan in the ninth.
Despite being 1-12 with a 6.15 ERA in his career against New York, Buehrle was on his game early, retiring the first eight Yankees he faced before second baseman Stephen Drew lined a ball over Kevin Pillar's head in centre for a double in the top of the third.
The first three innings Buehrle needed only 36 pitches — including 24 for strikes — and in the second he used just six pitches to put out Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. The Missouri native sat down 13 of the 15 batters he faced through five.
Everything fell apart, however, in the seventh.
With Toronto (67-66) leading 1-0, McCann opened the inning with a double to right field and Buehrle gave up his only walk of the night to the next hitter, Beltran, to put two on with nobody out.
Brett Gardner then doubled home McCann and a throwing error by second baseman Steve Tolleson on the same play allowed Beltran to come home and make it 2-1 New York (69-63) while Gardner was able to end up on third.
Ichiro Suzuki singled next, ending Buehrle's night in favour of Loup.
"It could be a sign of getting old and a lot of innings, I get to the fifth, sixth inning and start to putter out a little bit, I don't know," said Buehrle. "I felt strong even going out there for the seventh inning, I felt as strong as I did in the first and it's just the results aren't there.
"I'm missing location, which that obviously is a sign of getting a little tired. The way I'm feeling now, I'm happy about it, I just need to get the results."
Loup struck out Chase Headley, who was pinch hitting for Drew, but Gardner came in to score on another throwing error by catcher Dioner Navarro, who threw wide off third base in an attempt to pick off Gardner.
Ellsbury then hit a two-run shot to make it 5-1. It was the first home run Loup had given up to a left-handed batter in his major league career.
"Loup is very tough on left-handers," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "We've seen that for the last couple of years. For (Ellsbury) to hit that two-run homer to make it 5-1 was obviously really big."
Toronto earned back two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, cutting New York's lead to 5-3. Pillar doubled home Colby Rasmus, which ended the night for Yankee starter Chris Capuano (2-3), and a sacrifice fly to left by Melky Cabrera brought in Pillar.
Edwin Encarnacion had a great chance to bring Toronto closer, and end a personal slump, with Jose Reyes and Bautista on base, but middle reliever Adam Warren got him to fly out to right to end the inning.
Encarnacion is now just 3 for 26 in 12 games since returning from injury.
Headley made it 6-3 New York in the ninth inning when he took McGowan's first pitch deep over the right field wall. Two batters later Jeter looked to have brought home Ellsbury, but a 1:37 video review led to the umpire overruling his original safe call at home plate.
Bautista hit his 27th home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 1-0 for Toronto. His blast over the left field wall moved him into a tie with Encarnacion for the team lead in long balls.
"He's popped a few home runs lately, but we need a couple other guys to do the same," said Gibbons, who watched his club produce nine hits while leaving eight runners on base.
Two batters after Bautista, Navarro laced a double down the left field line, but Capuano was able to avoid anymore trouble by striking out Danny Valencia to end the inning.
In the fifth, Rasmus doubled to right and was moved to third on a single by Pillar. With runners on the corners and just one out, Toronto had an opportunity to extend its lead. A Reyes pop up and Cabrera ground out, though, ended any threat.
Rasmus opened the bottom of the third with a broken-bat single that saw the barrel of the bat nearly take out Capuano on the mound, but any chance for momentum was negated when Pillar hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
"We really couldn't get a lot of offence going — looking for that big knock," said Gibbons.
"We just have to swing our way out of it, we're not producing as a whole right now. Just got to keep battling. Just keep grinding away, what else can you do?"
Capuano went 6 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts to pick up his first win in four starts with New York since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox.
NOTES: Drew Hutchison (8-11) is expected to start for Toronto on Saturday while Michael Pineda (3-2) goes for New York...Derek Jeter will be honoured prior to Sunday's series finale...Toronto has dropped six of its past eight series (1-6-1)...Tonight's game was the fourth of a nine-game homestand...Melky Cabrera entered the game hitting .340 (17 for 50) against New York this season...San Antonio Spur and Pickering, Ont. native Corey Joseph tossed out the first pitch with the Larry O'Brien Trophy (NBA Championship) on display... Attendance at Rogers Centre was 43,318...The Yankees are now 8-5 vs Jays this season...Toronto is 7-17 in August.