Yankees 0, Blue Jays 2: A long, impassioned sigh

Tom Szczerbowski

Despite a terrific start from Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' bats go cold against R.A. Dickey and finish without scoring a run.

Andy Pettitte did his job.  The great veteran ate up 6.2 innings, giving up only one run on a fourth-inning solo homer by Colby Rasmus.  Pettitte gave up six hits and two walks with five strikeouts on 110 pitches, and only ever got into trouble once more, in the third inning, when he faced runners on second and third, before getting fly outs from Rajai Davis and Brett Lawrie to finish the inning.

Unfortunately, R.A. Dickey did his job even better.  The Blue Jays starter finished seven shutout innings with only allowing six baserunners (four hits and two walks), and striking out eight.  It wasn't a very good day for the Yankees at the plate, as they struggled put a bat on the ball, reaching base only eight times while striking out twelve times.  The bottom three men in the lineup (Ichiro Suzuki, Brendan Ryan, and Chris Stewart- with a pinch hitting appearance from Vernon Wells) finished a combined 0-for-9, with Stewart managing to draw a walk in the second inning.

Early on, it didn't seem like the Yankees would struggle as much as they did, loading the bases in the first inning thanks to a Robinson Cano base hit and an Alfonso Soriano double down the line, but Mark Reynolds struck out to end the frame.  They managed to put two men on in the second as well, as Stewart managed a walk in his first plate appearance, and Curtis Granderson, hitting in the leadoff slot tonight, rapped a base hit to center field.  Alex Rodriguez then hit a grounder that Jose Reyes appeared to bobble, but his nagging lower-body injuries slowed him down enough for an easy out.

Dickey mostly had his way with the New York lineup after that.  He struck out the side- Cano, Soriano, and Lyle Overbay- in the third, and needed only four pitches to retire the side in the fourth, as Suzuki's double play negated a Mark Reynolds single.  The fifth, sixth, and seventh innings didn't see a single Yankee on base, as Dickey retired all nine batters, with two strikeouts.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of the seventh, Pettitte finished his stellar start by staying in the game to retire Josh Thole and Reyes, before being relieved by Shawn Kelley.  With a depleted bullpen and Pettitte's fatigue rising, it's hard to say that Joe Girardi didn't make the right decision, but Kelley immediately gave up a home run to Davis to double Toronto's lead.  After Lawrie was retired at the plate, Wells came in to pinch-hit, and was only put out because of a great diving stop by Lawrie on a hard ground ball between third base and shortstop.  A fielding error by second baseman Ryan Goins put Granderson on first, which only made Lawrie's great defensive play feel even worse.  Of course, both Rodriguez and Cano made an out to end the inning, stranding Granderson on base yet again.

In the bottom of the eighth, great defensive play from the Yankees saved another run from crossing the plate.  After David Robertson retired Moises Sierra and Rasmus, pinch-hitter Adam Lind reamed a line drive into right field.  Anthony Gose, in the game for left fielder Kevin Pillar, hit a hard shot into the left field gap that reached the warning track on a few bounces.  Soriano made a quick throw to Brendan Ryan, who relayed a perfect strike to defensive replacement JR Murphy, making a great tag on Lind at the plate.

Casey Janssen entered the game for the ninth inning, and had about as much success as Dickey did.  Soriano struck out on a fifty eight-footer, Lyle Overbay managed a base hit, Reynolds struck out on a swing that wasn't particularly close to the ball, and Suzuki was fooled throughout his entire plate appearance before also striking out swinging, leaving a feeling that the team had wasted a great start from Pettitte, knowing fully well that they could have played much better than they did.

With two games left in the series, the Yankees will look to have their revenge on J.A. Happ tomorrow before handing the ball to Hiroki Kuroda on Thursday.  Against a sub-.500 team, the Yankees need to win the series in order to have much of a chance at possibly sneaking into the playoffs, and losing the first matchup doesn't help their odds.

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