Ricky Romero stared in disbelief at the rightfield seats of Yankee Stadium, the final resting place of Brett Gardner's first career grand slam.
Truth be told, the Toronto starter had lost control long before Gardner stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the third inning.
The Yankees hits came in a flurry, handcuffing Romero and the defense behind him. And before Toronto could recover the Yankees rattled off a season-high 11 runs in the inning, en route to a 11-3 win in front of 46,364.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had sung Romero's praises during his pregame news conference with the media, deeming the 25-year-old's changeup one of the best in the game.
"He's got a great changeup, a very good breaking ball, knows how to command his fastball," he said of Romero, who entered the game with a 6-4 record and a 2.83 ERA. "This is a very good young lefthander in our league that you would think would be around for a long time."
But on Saturday, Romero was far less than impressive.
Down 2-0 in the third, the Yankees loaded the bases for Mark Teixeira, who ripped a 92-mph fastball down the left-field line, scoring Gardner and Derek Jeter. Nick Swisher came around to score on an Alex Rodriguez groundout and Robinson Cano singled in another run to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead.
They loaded the bases again after Curtis Granderson reached on an infield hit and Romero hit Chad Huffman in the arm. Romero returned to the rubber to face Gardner - the same batter who led off the inning. And the Yankees' speedster snapped an 0-for-7 slump by crushing a 91-mph fastball over the rightfield wall to put the Yankees up 8-2.
And things went from bad to worse for the Blue Jays once Romero (eight earned run on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings) exited. Reliever Brian Tallet walked the first three batters he faced before Rodriguez cleared the bases on a potential flyout that Toronto leftfielder John McDonald lost in the sun.
The Yankees' 11 runs were the most scored in an inning since June 21, 2005, in which they scored 13 in the eighth against Tampa Bay. The 11 allowed runs also tied a franchise-worst for the Blue Jays, who allowed 11 runs on Aug. 6, 1979.
Pettitte didn't seem to mind the long inning. He worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning and retired 12 straight until the fifth. He surrendered his second home run of the afternoon, however, to Alex Gonzalez in the next inning, which pulled the Blue Jays to within 11-3. Jose Bautista hit a two-run home run off Pettitte in the first.
Pettitte, who had pitched at least seven innings in six straight starts, lasted only six Saturday, allowing three earned runs on five hits.
Dustin Moseley pitched two scoreless innings in his Yankees debut.