Whoever decided that Saturdays were meant to be fun and relaxing did not have today in mind, looking at the Yankees' performance over 20 innings of misery. Having lost the first two games of the four-game set to the Blue Jays, the Yankees dropped Game 2 of Saturday's double-header after the bullpen decided to stop throwing strikes in Game One's loss. The rainy weather was a perfect backdrop for the contest, which really was just not very fun to watch.
The Yankees turned to Ivan Nova with the hope that he could give the exhausted bullpen a breather by going deep into the game. But in the second, Ezequiel Carrera doubled and was knocked in by Ryan Goins. The light hitting Cliff Pennington followed things up with a two run homer on a line drive to right, making it a 3-0 ballgame. The Jays added three more before the end of the inning, taking a commanding 6-0 lead and knocking Nova out of the game.
On the other side, Marcus Stroman did not allow a hit until John Ryan Murphy singled in the fifth. A fielder's choice from Didi Gregorius and a single from Brendan Ryan set the stage for Jacoby Ellsbury, who grounded to first. Brett Gardner, however, was locked in all day, and sent a 2-0 sinker to the right field seats for a 3-run homer.
In the bottom of the sixth, the rain finally became too tough to ignore, forcing the umpire's hand. After a 33-minute rain delay, John Gibbons was not going to send the recently rehabbed Marcus Stroman back out on the mound, opting for righty Bo Schultz. Dustin Ackley singled and was doubled in by Didi to trim the lead to two, but lefty Aaron Loup was able to get southpaw killer Chris Young and Jacoby Ellsbury to end the threat.
The top of the 7th got ugly in a hurry for Chris Capuano, who had actually done a great job in relief of Nova. With the bases loaded and two outs, Ben Revere beat out a grounder which pulled first baseman Dustin Ackley off the bag. During the commotion, Ezequiel Carrera tried to run home and join Justin Smoak, who had already scored. Capuano wheeled around and fired home, missing his target and allowing Carrera to score. The Jays added RBI singles from Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista to make it a 10-4 game.
In the bottom of the eighth, Didi and Stephen Drew singled to set the stage again for Brett Gardner. Again, he delivered a three run homer, lining a pitch off the foul pole in right field for his second three-run jack of the game, and his third blast of the day. Rookie southpaw James Pazos did a stellar job in the top of the ninth, retiring the Blue Jays in order with a mid 90's fastball and a sweeping slider in the low 80's. Mark Lowe came on for the second time to wrap things up in the ninth, completing the double-header sweep.
It may have been a Saturday devoid of any happiness or joy for Yankee fans, but the very effective James Pazos and Brett Gardner were both very encouraging. Gardner, after earning an All Star spot, entered Saturday with a .595 OPS in the second half. His three home runs could be a sign that he is breaking out of his prolonged slump. Hopefully he can keep it going tomorrow against R.A. Dickey, as the Yankees send out Masahiro Tanaka to stop the bleeding. The last 29 innings of baseball have been very hard to watch, but tomorrow is a new day. If we know Tanaka, he will be ready for tomorrow's huge matchup.