TORONTO -- It looks as if Mariano Rivera will get his first choice.
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Instead, after the Yankees' 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays, Rivera will have eight potential opportunities, starting Monday afternoon at the Stadium, to earn the save at home that will put him atop the all-time list.
"That's exciting," Joe Girardi said. "I think it's exciting for our fans, and hopefully he gets about five or six this week."
On Saturday, after he notched save No. 601 to tie Hoffman, Rivera said he would "love" to set the record at home.
"It definitely will be a great opportunity to do it there," Rivera said after Sunday's's game. "But we still have to perform good. We have to take care of business."
The Yankees didn't do that Sunday, but even though they finished their four-city trip 4-6, they still lead the skidding Red Sox by 41/2 games.
Blue Jays righthander Brandon Morrow (10-11) shut out the Yankees for eight innings, allowing only four hits and one walk and striking out eight. Morrow also pitched well in his previous two outings against the Yankees.
After Russell Martin's infield hit with two outs in the second inning, Morrow retired 12 straight.
That streak was broken with two outs in the sixth when Eduardo Nuñez, getting the start at second base as Robinson Cano got a "half day" as the designated hitter, singled to rightfield. But, in the Yankees' second baserunning blunder in as many days, Nuñez inexplicably got himself in position to be thrown out at second by taking an overly aggressive turn around first. Rightfielder Jose Bautista threw to first, and Nuñez was easily tagged out at second.
"In that situation, you've got to know the score," Girardi said. "You're not going to get to second unless it really bounces off [Bautista], so you have to be cautious there."
The impact of Nuñez's gaffe on the final result likely was negligible.
Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira all were given the day off. Their replacements, as well as the regulars in the lineup, swung at a lot of pitches early in the count and looked like a team wanting to get home.
Though no one said being road weary impacted the offense's approach, no one disputed the desire to get back to New York.
"I think we're going to be energized getting home," said Alex Rodriguez, who started his second straight game at third and was back hitting cleanup after hitting fifth in his return Saturday. "It feels like we've been gone for about a month."
Said Derek Jeter: "We're looking forward to getting home. Seems like we've been on the road forever. And we're going home in better shape than when we left."
Though maybe not in the starting pitching department.
Freddy Garcia, who gave up two home runs in each of his last two starts, allowed a pair to Adam Lind Sunday. Garcia did not get a chance to give up a third as Girardi pulled the plug on the righthander with two outs in the fifth.
Garcia (11-8, 3.77) allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in 42/3 innings. He's allowed 15 runs in his last three starts.
Bartolo Colon, who allowed six runs in four innings Saturday, also has appeared to be on fumes in recent weeks.
Throw in CC Sabathia's problems the last five weeks, including Friday's start here, and the Yankees' rotation never has appeared shakier.
But, again, a stretch that really started with the Sept. 6 game against the Orioles that started at 11:08 p.m. because of a 4- hour, 3-minute rain delay, is over.
"This has been a tough road trip," Girardi said. "This has been a really, really tough stretch. We were able to get some guys a little rest today, and hopefully our guys come out and feel pretty good tomorrow. But as I said, this has been a tough stretch, starting with playing until 2:15 in the morning. It's just been brutal."