For most of the 2013 season, the New York Yankees had owned the Toronto Blue Jays, so Tuesday night's series opener at Rogers Centre should have been a piece of cake for the Yankees, who despite losing three straight over the weekend to the Boston Red Sox, were only 2.5 games back in the American League Wild Card chase.
The Yankees had their chance to take an early lead in the top of the first inning against Toronto ace R.A. Dickey, who they've had success against all season long. Robinson Cano's single, Alfonso Soriano's double and Lyle Overbay's walk set up bases loaded and two outs for Mark Reynolds, but Reynolds struck out to bail Dickey out of trouble.
In the top of the second inning, the Yankees had another chance to get to Dickey as Chris Stewart walked and Granderson singled again to set up first and second with two outs, but Alex Rodriguez's ground out to short ended the threat. A-Rod was in the lineup for the Yankees despite battling a hamstring and calf injury, but still played as the team's designated hitter.
After that, it was a battle of the starting pitchers, as both Pettitte and Dickey were solid on the mound for both teams, turning the game into an old-fashioned pitchers duel. In the bottom of the fourth of the inning, Pettitte made the only mistake of the game when he allowed a solo home run to Colby Rasmus, which put the Blue Jays ahead 1-0.
That was the only run that Pettitte allowed for the rest of the game, as he got into the seventh inning and left pitching 6.2 innings, allowing the one run on six hits, walked two and struck out five and again, was dominant for the Yankees. In his last seven starts, Pettitte has pitched to a 2.01 ERA and lowered his ERA from a 4.79 all the way down to 3.93 and should be 13-9, but has watched either the bullpen blow leads for him or in this case, be betratyed by the offense.
After Pettitte was taken out, Shawn Kelley came in to face Rajai Davis, who crushed Kelly's offering into the seats of Rogers Centre for a solo home run and gave Toronto a 2-0 lead, which was all Dickey needed since the Yankees bats went silent after the early innings. The Blue Jays ace went seven shutout innings, allowed no runs on four hits, walked two and struck out eight and showed signs of why he won the 2012 National League Cy Young Award with the New York Mets.
Sergio Santos pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Casey Janssen closed out the ninth to preserve the Blue Jays 2-0 victory. Dickey got the win and improved to 13-12 while Pettitte dropped to 10-10, Janssen got his 31st save of the season.
With the loss, the Yankees drop their fourth straight game and are now 79-72 and are 3.5 games in back of the American League Wild Card, who have the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals ahead of them in the standings.
On Wednesday night, Phil Hughes (4-13, 5.07 ERA) will be given the ball in his second start since being put back into the rotation last week, as he will oppose against lefty J.A. Happ (4-6, 5.15 ERA.)
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