The Yankees needed a righthanded bat off the bench Saturday, but Joe Girardi decided not to use the only one available. He played it strictly by the baseball book.
The Yankees had their lone scoring opportunity against Blue Jays lefthander David Price in the seventh. With two outs, Chase Headley walked and went to third on Didi Gregorius' single. With only lefthanded-hitting Brett Gardner and Stephen Drew on the bench, Girardi let light-hitting Brendan Ryan bat, and he popped up.
Girardi said he did not consider sending up righthanded- hitting catcher John Ryan Murphy, which would have left him vulnerable behind the plate if Brian McCann, who has knee inflammation, was injured. "It's tough. It's tough to do that in that situation,'' he said. "[Ryan's] swinging the bat pretty good, especially against lefthanders since he's been back. It just kind of left me in a tough situation.''
Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for the Yankees on Sunday in his most important start of the season. The hard-charging Blue Jays are in a position to sweep the three-game series.
"We need him to step up and pitch a good game, give us an opportunity to win,'' Girardi said. "We need to swing the bats and see what happens.''
Tanaka is 8-4 with a 3.84 ERA but has allowed 16 homers, not a good sign against the power-hitting Jays (151 homers).
The Yankees were shut out for the fourth time. It was the first time Toronto shut them out since 2007 . . . The Yankees had their home run streak ended at 13 consecutive games.