Blue Jays strike out in 10-7 loss to Yankees
A Toronto Blue Jays trainer checks on Moises Sierra, left, who was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees' Phil Hughes with the bases loaded in their baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. Blue Jays' Colby Rasmus (28) scored on the play. The Yankees won 10-7. (AP / Kathy Willens)
Published Friday, September 21, 2012 8:52AM EDT
NEW YORK -- Eight walks by the pitchers. Fifteen strikeouts by the batters, including four in one inning.
Another dismal night for the Toronto Blue Jays, who ensured their second straight losing season with a 10-7 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday.
"It's just one of those days that's pretty disappointing," Aaron Laffey said.
Ichiro Suzuki homered to start New York's comeback, then hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a seven-run fourth inning capped by Nick Swisher's grand slam. The Yankees completed a three-game sweep and opened a one-game AL East lead over idle Baltimore.
Toronto lost for the seventh time in nine games and dropped to 66-82, its third sub-.500 record in four years. Laffey (3-6) gave up five runs -- four earned -- five walks and two hits in three-plus innings, dropping to 0-4 with a 5.45 ERA in his last eight appearances.
"It's been a problem over the last couple of outings," Laffey said. "I'm throwing the ball well the first couple of innings and then losing that command and falling behind in counts and walking guys. Five walks is just not going to get it done."
Toronto built a 2-0 lead when Kelly Johnson hit an RBI double in the second and Phil Hughes (16-12) hit Moises Sierra in the left ribs with a bases-loaded pitch in the third. Hughes got out of the inning by striking out Johnson.
Suzuki, 9 for 12 in the series, hit a solo home run in the third. New York's big fourth started when Russell Martin of Chelsea, Que., walked and took second on a delayed steal.
"No one called out anything," catcher J.P. Arencibia said, adding that batter Curtis Granderson blocked his view. "I couldn't see first base. And you rely on trying to hear a steal call. When I realized it, it was too late."
Granderson reached when Johnson fumbled his grounder to second for an error,and Casey McGehee loaded the bases with a walk. Suzuki hooked a based-loaded double to right on an 0-2 pitch, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead and extending Suzuki's spurt to nine hits in 10 at-bats.
Reliever Brad Lincoln reloaded the bases with a walk to Jayson Nix. Derek Jeter followed with an RBI single for a 14-game hitting streak, and Swisher sent a 96 mph fastball into the right-field seats for his seventh career slam and third this season.
"Seemingly, every time we scored, they'd answer right back," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Any time you're trying to get a little momentum, you're looking for a zero to be put back up when we go out and take the field. Give them credit. That's a deep lineup and they're explosive, as you saw tonight."
After Sierra's two-run homer in the fifth cut the gap to 8-4, the Yankees added a pair of runs in the fifth against Brett Cecil. Granderson popped a 200-foot, wind-blown double that Sierra chased from right field but allowed to fall on the grass behind second base. Nix doubled in a run and scored on Jeter's single.
"Not a good decision," Sierra said. "There was a lot of wind today and the ball kept coming in. That was the problem."
Johnson hit a solo homer in the eighth off Cory Wade, Brett Lawrie of New Westminster, B.C., had a run-scoring single against Joba Chamberlain and Mike McCoy hit into an RBI forceout.
Hughes (16-12) won his third straight start, allowing four runs and four hits with nine strikeouts. David Robertson struck out the side in the ninth for his second save this season and first since May 8.
After struggling for much of the summer, the Yankees have won five in a row, their longest winning string since June 23-27.
"I feel that we're getting that inner confidence back that we lost there for a little bit," Swisher said. "Regardless of whatever the situation is, whatever team we're playing, we feel like we're going to go out there and get the job done."
NOTES: Toronto DH Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 4 with a walk. He had not played since Saturday because of a sore right big toe. ... The Blue Jays are 5-9 against the Yankees this year. ... Toronto was 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position. ... Toronto's 16 Ks was one shy of its season high. ... Sierra's three RBIs were a career high. Arencibia, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose and Lawrie all struck out in the third. Hechavarria reached on Martin's passed ball.