TORONTO — In the middle of this 11-game trip that started so poorly, Joe Girardi said he hoped the Yankees could at the very least stay “relevant” in the AL wild-card chase entering the season’s final week.
Instead, by the end of the weekend, they could officially reach irrelevance insofar as being mathematically alive.
Their offense barren a second straight night, the Yankees were steamrolled by the Blue Jays Friday night, 9-0, in front of a noisy sellout crowd of 47,016 at Rogers Centre.
The Yankees (79-74), dropped four games behind the Tigers for the second wild card and fell to 2-6 on the trip that began with a four-game sweep by the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Afterward, Girardi tersely ended his postgame news conference when pressed several times on why he inserted righthander Blake Parker in the seventh inning, instead of, perhaps, Adam Warren or Tyler Clippard, to hold a 3-0 lead. Parker, who has pitched reasonably well since the Yankees acquired him in August and who had allowed just one run over his previous seven appearances, inflamed things in the seventh, allowing four runs.
“I’ve been throwing Adam multiple innings,” Girardi said. “Parker’s been throwing pretty good for us. He didn’t tonight. I could have went to Adam, then maybe I don’t have him tomorrow. I’m just trying to piece it all together.”
After a brief pause, Girardi rose from his desk and abruptly left his office, saying: “I’m done. I’m done.
His team, already a severe long shot at getting a playoff berth even with a hot streak down the stretch, would seem to be in the same boat.
The offense has been the culprit the last two games, producing zero runs over 18 innings.
“We just weren’t able to put much together,” Girardi said. “It’s frustrating.”
Friday night lefthander Francisco Liriano pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits, two of them to Gary Sanchez.
The Yankees, who went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 in Thursday night’s loss, went 0-for-4 with RISP against Liriano and stranded six. They did not put a runner in scoring position after the third inning.
“You can’t win if you don’t score,” Brett Gardner said.
Of the team’s nearly impossible playoff scenario, Gardner added, “Things are kind of slipping away at this point. We’re not out of it but we’re definitely not in a good position.”
Righthander Bryan Mitchell, victimized by two unearned runs in the first, wasn’t bad, allowing three runs total and six hits over six innings.
“That’s baseball,” Mitchell said of first baseman Billy Butler’s error on Josh Donaldson’s grounder in the first that led to Troy Tulowitzki’s two-out, base-loaded single that brought in the two unearned runs. “You have to move past that and get the next guy.”
Parker torched things in the seventh, allowing four runs, as the Blue Jays sent 11 to the plate to make it 7-0. Donaldson’s two-run homer in the eighth off Ben Heller, his 36th of the season, made it 9-0.
In many ways, the game was decided in the first inning.
Sanchez doubled with two outs in the inning and the Yankees soon had the bases loaded as Butler and Didi Gregorius walked. Chase Headley, however, struck out on four pitches to end the 28-pitch inning.
The Blue Jays (84-69), who own the first wild-card spot, loaded the bases in the bottom half with two outs and got the key hit the Yankees did not, the Tulowitzki single.
“Just try to finish strong, that’s all you can do,” Dellin Betances said of the Yankees’ predicament, which really began in April and early May with a 9-17 start . “We’ve been trying to climb, climb the whole year. We’ve been playing hard. Just things haven’t gone our way I guess.”