With a home run, a near home run and three RBIs in the first four innings Friday night, Jacoby Ellsbury was the offensive star for the Yankees in their 5-3 win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
Unfortunately for Ellsbury, four innings was all he played. He exited in the top of the fifth with a strained right hamstring after running out an RBI forceout in the fourth.
Ellsbury went from the field to the MRI tube. It was not immediately known how long he will be out. The Yankees are running out of season, of course, as they have nine regular-season games left.
Ellsbury was not immediately available for comment. Said Joe Girardi, "He said it grabbed. I'd be surprised if he's a player [Saturday].''
Asked if Ellsbury's season could be over, Girardi said, "I think that's a distinct possibility. Any time a guy comes out and grabs his hamstring, you're always concerned. It's not what you want.''
If his season is over, Ellsbury will finish his first year as a Yankee with a .271 batting average, 16 homers, 27 doubles, 71 runs and 70 RBIs in 149 games.
Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 for his second consecutive two-hit game and Hiroki Kuroda (11-9) pitched into the seventh inning as the Yankees won their third straight. The Blue Jays lost their sixth in a row.
Jeter hit a line-drive single off the glove of first baseman Adam Lind in the first and lined a single over the leap of shortstop Jose Reyes in the fourth. He is 5-for-10 since ending an 0-for-28 skid on Wednesday and is batting .252.
The Yankees (who are tied with the Indians at 79-74) are 4½ games behind the Royals for the second wild-card spot and are four games behind the Mariners. A postseason berth? Highly unlikely.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer off the leftfield foul pole in the first to give the Jays a 2-0 lead. Given the Yankees' offense, or lack of it, you'd figure that would mean trouble. But they were facing old pal Mark Buehrle, who entered the game with a 1-13 record and 6.14 ERA against the Yankees. Now it's 1-14, 6.21. Buehrle (12-10) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings.
Ellsbury, who started the night with four hits in his last 33 at-bats, doubled off the tippy-top of the rightfield wall in the first inning and hit a two-run homer well over it in the third.
Ellsbury scored in the first on Brian McCann's single to make it 2-1. His 16th home run two innings later gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
In the fourth, the Yankees loaded the bases with one out on Stephen Drew's single and two walks. Ellsbury hit a potential double-play ball to the left of second baseman Munenori Kawasaki, who threw to second for the forceout.
Reyes tried to get the out at first, but his throw ticked off Lind's glove as two runs scored to make it 5-2. Ellsbury, who busted it down the line in an attempt to beat the play, clutched his hamstring after passing first base.
Ellsbury was not replaced by a pinch runner but did not appear in centerfield for the top of the fifth. Brett Gardner moved to center and Chris Young entered the game in left.
The Jays made it 5-3 in the fifth when Reyes singled, stole second, moved to third on McCann's throwing error and scored on Jose Bautista's groundout. It was his 100th RBI.
Adam Warren struck out the last two batters in the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth for his third save. David Robertson and Dellin Betances were unavailable because of their recent workloads.
Kuroda, who was charged with three runs (two earned) and struck out seven in 62/3 innings, said he has not made a decision about whether he wants to join Jeter in retirement. "I'm not really thinking about that,'' the 39-year-old said. "The season's not finished yet.''