Yankees cough up lead twice in loss to Jays

Sabathia struggled in his second game back from the DL.

Poor situational hitting, sloppy fielding and poorly executed pitches doomed the Yankees during Wednesday’s 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays.

The game featured a 3-for-17 performance with runners in scoring position, three fielding errors and 12 hits allowed by six pitchers, including CC Sabathia.

“You’re not happy to lose a ballgame, that’s the bottom line,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Show me a manager or a player that’s happy about losing a ballgame and I’ll show you a loser. That’s the bottom line. We didn’t play well today. We had plenty of opportunities to win this game today and we didn’t get it done. We gotta get it done.”

“I’ve been saying it for a while — every game is a big game,” Nick Swisher said. “We’re not exactly making it easy on ourselves.”

The Yankees equaled their most at-bats with runners in scoring position in a nine-inning game this season and had men on base in all but three innings. In the fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth they came
up empty with less than two outs.

Their average with runners in scoring position since Aug. 15 is .196 (20-for-120). Perhaps more glaring is that the team approaching 200 home runs only has one with a runner in scoring position over the last two weeks.

“At times we haven’t hit during this little streak,” Girardi said. “We haven’t scored as many runs as we have in the past. Up until today, our pitching wasn’t too bad. Today it was a combination of a lot of different things. You’ve got to put it behind you, that’s all you can do. We’ve got to put it behind you and move on.”

“It’s part of the game,” Andruw Jones said. “We went on a good streak for a while and we were scoring a lot of runs. Right now, we’ve kind of cooled down a little bit, but you’ve got to give credit to the pitchers. They pitched good and that’s why we didn’t score.”

The first blown opportunity with runners in scoring position occurred in the fourth with a 4-3 lead. The Yankees had the bases loaded after Derek Jeter was intentionally walked for the first time in nearly two years.

That inning ended when Swisher and Robinson Cano struck out by chasing outside fastballs.

In the sixth, Jayson Nix led off with a double but Ichiro was called out on a check swing. Chris Stewart fouled out and Jeter struck out by swinging at a changeup in the dirt.

The third problem inning was the seventh after Cano lined a one-out double off Steve Delabar. Cano was stranded when Jones struck out swinging on a changeup and Curtis Granderson could not handle four sliders from Aaron Loup as he grounded out weakly to first base.

The fourth troublesome inning was the eighth when the Yankees scored their fifth run on Russell Martin’s double that bounced on the third base bag and deflected into left field. Martin was stranded when Ichiro lined out, followed by Eric Chavez striking out and Jeter flying out to right field.

“There’s a lot of time you say ‘hit the bag’ and it never does,” Girardi said. “Today was one of those days that it hit the bag and it seemed like a few times with a runner on second and nobody out we weren’t able to get him home and that’s probably what cost us the game.”

Putting the extreme lack of situational hitting more in focus was a sub-par outing by Sabathia in
his second start back from the DL. Sabathia allowed five runs (two earned) and nine hits in seven innings.

His performance was compounded by turning a fielding error by Nix at third into three unearned runs. Sabathia lost the lead by allowing a go-ahead two-run home run to Yunel Escobar in the sixth, who turned on a hanging slider after trying to bunt.

“I’ve always felt a responsibilty to pitch well no matter the situation,” Sabathia said. “I didn’t do that
today and it sucks.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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