Robinson Cano stared in disbelief from the on-deck circle as Alex Rodriguez was issued a free pass. The Blue Jays' one-run lead in the seventh was by no means safe, but there was Ricky Romero walking A-Rod with two outs and a man on first.
It wasn't an intentional walk, but still . . . Said Cano, "When I see him walking him on four pitches, and he was throwing strikes the whole game, I say, 'Wow, something wrong here.' "
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Dead set on payback, Cano took out his anger on Romero's replacement, Casey Janssen. His two-run double propelled the Yankees to a 6-4 win over Toronto on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 47,744 at the Stadium.
The two RBIs gave Cano 101 and put him over the 100 mark for the second straight season. He had a career-high 109 in 2010.
"I love that," Cano said, beaming. "Those are situations where you're going to become a better player. You're going to fail over and over, but every time I want to be there."
With Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera unavailable, David Robertson pitched two scoreless innings -- his longest outing since May 20, 2010 -- to earn his first save of the season. Boone Logan (5-2) got the win in relief of Bartolo Colon, who allowed four runs in 61/3 innings, striking out seven. He has not won in his past six starts.
The Yankees (84-53) -- who maintained their half-game lead over the Red Sox -- have three players with at least 100 RBIs for the first time since 2005. Cano joined Curtis Granderson (107) and Mark Teixeira (100); Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui did it six years ago.
And although much of the AL MVP talk has centered on Granderson, Joe Girardi said Cano shouldn't be overlooked. "I wouldn't write him off in that MVP race just yet," he said.
The Yankees trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, but things unraveled for Romero (13-10). With two outs and no one on base, the lefty hit Granderson in the back and walked Rodriguez. Janssen then allowed Cano's 40th double of the season, a line drive up the alley in right-center that got past centerfielder Dewayne Wise, allowing Rodriguez to score from first for a 5-4 lead. Nick Swisher then lined a shot just to the right of shortstop Mike McCoy that couldn't be handled for an RBI single and a two-run lead.
"If you don't throw strikes to Al in a situation like that . . . what does that tell you?" said Cano, who admitted feeling slighted. "I say, 'Wow, they want to pitch to me?' Every time I see them walk a guy in front of me, that pumps me up."
Cano may have impressive statistics, but he believes he can be even better. In a lengthy conversation two months ago, his father stressed the importance of being more selective at the plate and keeping his batting average above .300. "I'm not going to lie to you, it's right on my face [on the scoreboard] in centerfield," Cano said of focusing on his average, which stands at .307.
Colon, who threw a season-high 110 pitches, allowed solo homers by Adam Lind and Wise, who also tripled and scored on Jose Bautista's single in the third to tie it at 3-3. Eduardo Nuñez had a two-out RBI single in the second and scored on Francisco Cervelli's two-run homer.