Yanks' wild-card hopes take hit with loss to Blue Jays
TORONTO - The Yankees landed in Boston a week ago feeling as good as they had all season, having just taken three of four in Baltimore to climb within one game of the second AL wild-card spot.
The talk then was about controlling their own destiny.
After a mostly dreadful week of baseball that culminated in a 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays Thursday night at Rogers Centre, they were reduced to spouting mathematical platitudes.
"A lot of things can happen in this game,'' Robinson Cano said. "Until you're eliminated, you're not out of the race.''
"At the end of the day we're still in it,'' Mark Reynolds said. "Anything can happen over nine games.''
And this from Vernon Wells: "As long as we're not mathematically out of it, then we still have a chance. I don't think there's a person in this room that feels any differently.''
What's possible and what's realistic, however, are separate things. And losing two of three to the last-place Blue Jays doesn't exactly portend success for the remaining nine games. While there was talk of "running the table,'' little evidence suggests such a run is possible.
The Yankees (80-73), who fell 3 1/2 games out of the second wild-card spot, start a six-game homestand Friday night against the Giants, followed by three with the Rays. Both teams can pitch, and the Yankees, after an offensive resurgence that started in late July with the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano, suddenly can't hit.
In losing five of the last six on this trip, the Yankees were outscored 33-13. Take away Wednesday night's four-run eighth inning that led to a 4-3 comeback victory, and the numbers are even worse.
"We played pretty well in Baltimore, we didn't score runs in Boston and didn't pitch too well,'' Joe Girardi said. "We didn't score runs here. You put those things together and it leads to a lot of losses.''
The Yankees fell to last in the six-team wild-card race. They are three games behind the Indians, who beat the Astros. The Orioles' loss at Fenway was a plus, but the Yankees still trail Baltimore by 11/2 games, and they dropped a half-game behind the idle Royals.
"We have to win first, regardless of what the other teams are doing, and we're not doing that right now,'' Chris Stewart said. "We still have time left, we have time to turn it around.''
Hiroki Kuroda, 1-5 with a 5.22 ERA in his previous eight starts, again was hit hard. But he did well to depart after six inning trailing only 3-1.
Any hopes of a second straight late-inning rally dissipated after Joba Chamberlain, appearing in a rare close-game situation late, entered in the seventh. He walked Munenori Kawasaki, allowed a single to Brett Lawrie and a three-run bomb to Adam Lind that made it 6-1.
The lefthanded-hitting Lind improved to 9-for-19 in his career against Chamberlain, who hung a slider.
"He used to pitch in a lot of close games, that's who he was,'' Girardi said in explaining the reason for going with Chamberlain over rookie lefthander Cesar Cabral, who also was ready. "Tonight he didn't get it done.''
Todd Redmond (4-2, 3.82) allowed one run and four hits in a career-best seven innings, doing pretty much what J.A. Happ did to the Yankees the night before. It was the rookie's second win over the Yankees this season.
Curtis Granderson hit his seventh homer, a solo shot in the sixth. After that, Toronto pitching retired nine straight before Alex Rodriguez drew a one-out walk in the ninth.
The walk did spark a rally of sorts as the Yankees loaded the bases, but closer Casey Janssen entered and got Wells and Lyle Overbay to ground out to end it.
"Somehow or another, we're still in the mix,'' said a beat-up A-Rod, who is nursing hamstring and calf injuries. He went 0-for-3 and is in a 1-for-22 slide.
"Somebody wants us in, that's for sure, because we keep getting help from other people. At some point we have to do it ourselves.''